Western New Jersey

Flemington divided on future of Union Hotel

Flemington divided on future of Union Hotel

FLEMINGTON, N.J. - Fall in Flemington.

Pumpkins and mums decorate the street, so do signs signaling a split in plans for downtown redevelopment.

"The assets that the town has going for it is it's the county seat, and it has this historic architecture," said Christopher Pickell, a member of Friends of Historic Flemington.

The plan is to redevelop the square block of Main Street.

"It needs a plan put forth that includes a residential component, an education component, a medical component, and a larger hotel component," said developer, Jack Cust.

Currently the area is home to the historic Union Hotel, the place reporters, and jurors stayed during the Lindbergh kidnapping trial in 1935. The hotel shut down and is fenced off.

The county restored the courthouse where the trial took place and some want the hotel to remain standing as well.

"We just need to retain the historic buildings along Main street," said Pickell. "The back lots are all vacant and that land can be redeveloped. You can have this wonderful thing where there is new mixed in with the old."

"First of all there's about a million dollar mold problem that needs to be mitigated if it's saved and that is one big issue to overcome," said Cust.

If saved, the hotel would only provide 25 rooms, in a project calling for at least 100 rooms.

The group Friends of Historic Flemington has filed a lawsuit to stop redevelopment.

Plans call for a new Union Hotel, but developers are looking into keeping this historic building intact.

"It's a balancing act that we continue to work with, but unfortunately we haven't come up with a great solution," added Cust.

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