FLEMINGTON, NJ - The resolution approved by Borough Council last night – that takes the first step towards condemning the Union Hotel – states that redeveloper Jack Cust has shown “best faith efforts to acquire properties” that are part of the Main Street redevelopment plan, but “despite such efforts, has been unable to negotiate the purchase of the properties.”
The resolution also states that “the Borough is satisfied” that Cust offered to buy the hotel “at a premium and has exhausted all reasonable efforts to purchase such properties.”
In fact, Flemington Mayor Phil Greiner thought as recently as April 9 that Cust and hotel owner Steve Romanowski had a deal.
The deal, which Greiner said was reached over a few cups of coffee, was “a huge move forward,” he said at the time. The Saturday morning meeting included the mayor, Romanowski – who at that time didn’t own the hotel but was a lienholder with a right to foreclose – and Borough Council President Brooke Warden.
While it isn’t clear what soured the deal, it is clear that an agreement existed, as did others going back more than two years.
A copy of the informal agreement, handwritten on lined paper, was signed by all four parties. According to a copy of the agreement obtained by TAPinto, Cust agreed to pay Romanowski $1.1 million for the Potting Shed building and parking lot, “Payable now subject to title and environmental” clearances.
Cust also agreed to pay what appears to be $1,047,430.09 “for hotel payable upon final site plan approval and 45-day appeal period.”
The agreement included other terms, including $250,000 Cust would pay to Romanowski upon receipt of a construction permit and that the two would share the cost of any needed interim repairs up to $100,000.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that the April agreement was only the most recent agreement Cust signed to acquire the hotel.