November 6, 2019

20 Nassau Street Sold to Company That Develops Hotels

By Anne Levin

The five-story building at 20 Nassau Street, home to numerous offices, health care professionals, and retail businesses, has been purchased by a company that develops hotels in university towns. According to management of the building, the sale to the Chicago-based Graduate Hotels closed on October 31.

Tenants were able to meet on Monday, November 4 with representatives of the hotel firm, who told them their existing leases would be honored, according to the owner of one of the building’s ground floor retail businesses.The retail owner, who has operated his business for 20 years, declined to be identified, but said there were no assurances by the new owners that leases would be renewed.

The red brick building dates from 1918 and once served as a dormitory for Princeton University students, according to the 20 Nassau website. The site advertises more than 70,000 square feet of space, with 112 office suites ranging in size from 150 to 450 square feet, and a few larger spaces over 1,500 square feet.

It is the largest office building in Princeton and has traditionally been the most affordable. Among the ground-level
businesses are Jammin’ Crepes, Small Bites by Local Greek, Sakrid Coffee Roasters, and Bucks County Dry Goods on Nassau Street; and Milk & Cookies and Nassau Barbers on Chambers Street. Several storefronts on Chambers Street have been empty for some time. The entrance to the new hotel would be on Chambers Street, a retailer said he was told.

The company buying the building was listed in a filing at the Mercer County Clerk’s office as GPNJ Owner LLC. The parent company is listed as AJ Capital Partners.

The boutique hotel chain was founded five years ago by Benjamin Weprin. The firm operates 21 hotels in locations including New Haven, Connecticut; Nashville, Tennessee; Charlottesville, Virginia; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Oxford, Mississippi. According to its website, Graduate  frequently buys existing buildings and renovates them with a focus on local references and memorabilia.

Locations where the company is planning to build hotels in 2020 include Cambridge, England; Roosevelt Island, New York; Evanston, Illinois; and Dallas, Texas; according to its website. Princeton is not among those listed.

Graduate Hotels did not respond to requests for comment.