FLEMINGTON, NJ - In her report to the council, Flemington Mayor Betsy Driver announced that, as of the end of last month, the sale of the Union Hotel to redeveloper Jack Cust had been finalized.
The deal between Cust and the former owner, Steve Romanowski, was announced in July 2018. What followed is a long line of litigation that still hasn’t completely played out in the courts, leaving the entire redevelopment project in question.
“I do think that his taking ownership of the building points to the fact that he has great confidence in the project moving forward,” said Driver.
The mayor said she expects Cust will quickly file permit applications for work to stabilize the historic building, which has bricks falling off the back.
“I know he’s anxious to do that,” she said.
The hotel closed to overnight guests in the 1970s, however the restaurant and bar remained opened until mid-2008. Since then, the landmark structure has become dangerously dilapidated.
Although she said she doesn’t want to “over promise,” Driver announced she is hopeful that by the end of September there will be a lot more to discuss based on the frequent meetings taking place between the borough’s redevelopment committee and the Cust team.
The Union Hotel Redevelopment Area consists of 3.92 acre in the downtown and historic district of Flemington, which is known for its historic charm and walkable downtown.
Driver was also the bearer of bad news regarding 144 Main Street. As the potential buyer, Tidbits Inc. of Lambertville, was doing its due diligence, two additional underground tanks were discovered.
It hasn’t been confirmed, but they think one tank was for heating oil and one was for waste oil.
In 2008, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection determined that there had been a release of gas on the 0.25-acre property that was used as a gasoline station beginning in the 1950s. A clean up was completed and the borough, which currently owns the former gas station property, had been given a “no further action letter” by the DEP, allowing for the sale of the land.
The buyer has not backed out of the deal to purchase the property for $220,000 and build a restaurant.
“They’re waiting for us to get back to them,” Driver said.
A meeting between Driver, the borough attorney and the DEP is set for this week.