Downtown Developer Could Seek Additional Help With Phase II
Nassau HKT Associates (NHKT), the developer in Princeton Borough's downtown development plan, is looking to "recapitalize" its project by possibly bringing in new partners to help carry it forward, according to a Borough official. The unnamed partners would help complete particular aspects of the first phase of the downtown development, including a water situation in the Spring Street municipal garage basement, and to start "Building C," the second phase of the project, which is slated to be a five-story, 72,467-square-foot structure with 18 one-bedroom and 35 two-bedroom residential units with a grocery store on the first floor on the current suface parking lot on S. Tulane Street.
Adding partners to the project will require an amendment to the Borough/NHKT agreement. Borough Council and the developer were scheduled to meet in closed session Tuesday night so the Borough could review plans to go forward and amend the agreement.
NHKT is tentatively scheduled to hold a public presentation before Borough Council on June 28, where the formal action of Council allowing new partners would take place, and to have a public update for the project from Robert Powell, principal of NHKT. That presentation will include new details on the plaza next to the library, the garage, and Building C.
One of the new partners in the project is rumored to be Jack Morrison, owner of Nassau Street Seafood and Produce Co. and the Blue Point Grill restaurant. Mr. Morrison is also the owner of the Witherspoon Grill, the steakhouse that will be located on the first floor of Witherspoon House, on the plaza.
Mr. Powell was unable to comment on Mr. Morrison's involvement and Mr. Morrison was not immediately available for comment Tuesday evening.
Work for Phase II cannot get started until NHKT can acquire a certificate of occupancy for the garage, and according to Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi, there is a "major outstanding" issue with the garage in regard to correcting the water issue in the basement.
Water seeps into the garage basement, Mr. Bruschi said, and NHKT hired a structural engineer to evaluate and affirm that what was built was in accordance with the approved drawings.
"It's not a significant amount of water, by any means, but it's like buying a home with a wet basement," Mr. Bruschi said. "We contracted for a dry basement."
NHKT's Mr. Powell said some "very positive" aspects will soon be revealed regarding the development project, but added that he could not elaborate at this time.