Last year, it was announced that Graduate Hotels had purchased 20 Nassau Street, a large building in downtown Princeton that has most recently been used for retail uses and offices (map). Graduate Hotels manages boutique hotels in around 30 locations in the USA. At a recent neighborhood meeting, they shared further concept plans about how the new hotel in downtown Princeton might look. The images shown here are from the presentation.
The existing building at 20 Nassau Street was constructed in 1918. It was originally used for Princeton University dorms, then subsequently as the headquarters of the Educational Testing Service, before being subdivided into offices with ground floor retail. In its current form, the building reaches to five stories on Nassau Street, but just two stories in the adjoining structures to the rear, which face onto Chambers Street. Following the sale of the building last year, the businesses on Chambers Street were closed, but those on Nassau Street remain and are likely to stay. A major goal of the proposed hotel concept is to maintain and preserve the existing historic building fronting onto Nassau Street.
If the new hotel is built as proposed, the entrance would be on Chambers Street, and look like this:
The buildings on Chambers Street would be demolished, and replaced with new, five-story additions in two ‘modules’, which would match the height and style of the existing historic structure fronting onto Nassau Street:
And 80-bay parking garage would be built in a basement level. The developer proposes that the new hotel will lead to a net increase in parking availability in downtown Princeton, because the hotel is not expected to require as much parking as was needed for the former offices, and because of the new parking available in the basement garage. The new building would be built to LEED Silver standard, with a green roof, free bikeshare, and electric vehicle charging stations.
The plan is attracting criticism from some residents on neighboring Bank Street (at foreground in image below), who are unhappy about potential increases in traffic, and the limited setbacks adjacent to Bank Street.
The plan was discussed by the town’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board at their meeting on August 12. The proposal requires variances, and would presumably be ruled on by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, although no date for a hearing has been published on the municipal calendar at the time of writing. If constructed, the hotel could provide the town with a substantial commercial ratable. The town could also collect hotel taxes from visitors who might otherwise stay in accommodation on US-1.
View the full concept plan document at this link: Graduate Hotels Princeton Concept Plan. (82MB PDF)
Such a development would be an environmental positive for Princeton, allowing visitors to come by train, or park the car, stay/walk around town . . . as opposed to US1 lodgers who require 2~4 extra vehicle trips into/out-of town each day.
Great for local merchants too. As visitors “trapped” in town are more likely to patronize Princeton businesses than those on US1.
It may bring more business and I’m glad they are going for LEED silver but it looks like a big ugly box. I would like to see a better design without going to 5 stories on Chambers st. and better setbacks.
My parents live a block away and I have to say — looks good. Princeton could use another downtown hotel, and folks will be able to easily come stay here without bringing a car. Now if they’d just stop moving the Dinky further and further away …