STOCKTON, N.J. - It's a centuries-old property, but the Stockton Inn has seen better days. It's been closed since 2017 and various development proposals for the 2.3 acres never came to be.
New Hope-based developer JB Berman of Avon Road Partners wants to restore it to what it once was and add modern amenities.
Berman said part of the plan is to get the property designated as a historical landmark, a long and expensive process. She said the main building will remain largely the same. The redevelopment plan also includes adding 35 hotel rooms in a separate space, a spa, and an outdoor amphitheater.
The property would have a capacity of just under 1,000 people. Berman said there would be some onsite parking, 64 spaces, and Avon Road Partners is in talks with the borough to add reinforceable green space, lawn parking, but haven't worked through any details yet.
"We do have to get acoustical engineers in here to tell us where the sound will carry, how far it will carry...we don't want it to be a detriment to the community," Berman said.
But some in the community are afraid the project will be just that.
"Our homes will be devalued; our property values will go down. I mean, it is atrocious," said resident Eileen Foley who started a GoFundMe to raise money for legal fees to fight the proposed project.
A community Facebook page, Protect the Stockton Inn, also has about 1,500 members.
Foley said she's not opposed to getting the inn back up and running but the current proposal is too much.
"I can't even believe the town council is considering putting it under "redevelopment" and I think a lot of people don't understand what that means," Foley said.
In a letter posted to the borough website, officials said the council voted to investigate if a redevelopment plan may be right for the site, but no other action has been taken. They write that no applications for redevelopment have been submitted and that there will be opportunity for public comment before action is or isn't taken.