FLEMINGTON, NJ - Georgian Court University has signed a letter of intent to open a location in Jack Cust’s downtown improvement project – called Courthouse Square - and could be open for classes as soon as fall, 2019.

That’s what the private, Catholic university President Dr. Joseph Marbach told local business leaders at a press conference this morning. The school is based in Lakewood.

Marbach called Hunterdon an “education desert” and said that the university’s programs will be “market-driven.”

Sign Up for E-News

The school is in talks with both Hunterdon Medical Center and Raritan Valley Community College to explore partnerships, he said. Bob Wise, president of Hunterdon Medical Center’s corporate parent, is “collaborating with Georgian Court in providing advanced degrees in nursing and healthcare,” Marbach said.

Cust has said that the 300,000-square-foot Courthouse Square project will be anchored by the old Historic Courthouse at one end and a 45,000-square-foot medical and education building at the other.

Cust said the project’s two most significant structures are the historic Union Hotel and the building at 90 Main St., often called the Hunterdon bank building. Both structures will “be preserved in place, with their exteriors intact,” Cust said. “The interiors of the buildings will be completely remodeled.”

The four-story, 100-room hotel will have 10 new suites on the top two floors; meetings and conference rooms on the second floor; and a new restaurant and lobby on the first floor, Cust said. The plan also includes 222 residential units and 32,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce “will continue to partner and support the courthouse project,” said Chamber President Chris Phelan. Hunterdon County Freeholder Director John Lanza said the plan has the “full support” of the county Freeholder board.

Lanza said he’s watched as Flemington has slowly decayed over the years and that the Courthouse Square plan will bring “life, vitality and youth” into the county seat.

“This represents a new beginning, a new birth for our county,” Lanza said.

Flemington Mayor Phil Greiner said, "today is a great day for Flemington ... this college is the leading edge of a project that promises to transform Flemington and move it forward, while retaining its history and the appeal that we all know that it has."