'Temporary Denial' for Building at Center of Union Hotel Redevelopment Plan

Jack Cust at today's meeting in Trenton. Credits: Curtis Leeds
The public and officials filled the public meeting room at the state Department of Environmental Protection today. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Hunterdon Freeholder Director John Lanza is a vocal advocate of the plan to redevelop Flemington's Union Hotel and its surrounding properties. Credits: Curtis Leeds

TRENTON, NJ – The meeting here today that drew officials from across Hunterdon was ostensibly about just one historic building on Main Street that is part of the Union Hotel redevelopment plan for Flemington.

But the building at 90 Main Street is critical to Jack Cust’s plan for the hotel and its surrounding properties – an effort that is projected to cost more than $90 million.

Often referred to as the “Hunterdon County Bank building,” it was built in 1870. Cust’s plan called for preserving the outside of the building, and then essentially constructing an entirely new building inside of it.

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That one building was the only aspect of the Cust plan that fell under the purview today of the state Historic Sites Council, an advisory group to the state Historic Preservation Office that is part of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Former Freeholder George Muller told the Council that its decision about the building “will drastically effect the destiny of the future of this town.”

Charged with protecting historic structures, the Council had the authority to reject plans to alter 90 Main, and the Council circulated a draft in advance of the meeting that would have done just that.

But after hearing testimony and public comments, Council voted instead to issue a “temporary denial.” The denial includes conditions that, at the developer’s option, would allow him to return to the state with additional information in a an effort to get approval to make changes to the building.

The conditions include requiring a structural analysis of the building, an initial archeological assessment, details on how the size and scale of surrounding buildings could affect the building and assessment of the building’s interior and exterior.

Cust told the Council that the temporary denial could put at risk contracts he has in place to purchase the properties he needs that are part of the project. In a brief interview after the meeting, Cust said he would proceed and provide the information the state seeks.

Stay with TAPinto Flemington-Raritan for more information about today’s proceedings.

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To the editor:

There are those of us in Hunterdon County that are still without power almost one week past the first storm. JCP&L has repeatedly changed the time and date of restoration. The spokesman flat-out lied to you when he said all 10,000 customers in Hunterdon would have power restored by Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. 

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