The office and retail building at the corner of Nassau Street and Chambers Street in Princeton that has been the longtime home of more than 100 small businesses is being sold to the founder of Graduate Hotels, a company that develops hotels in university-anchored towns, according to public records.
Tenants of the building say that on Tuesday, Oct. 29, they were told that there is no sale and that the story is false. Planet Princeton reached out to management for comment and embedded the notice of settlement for the contract of sale for the building in this story. A representative for 20 Nassau told Planet Princeton on Tuesday that the sale has not closed yet and that the reporter will be notified if and when the sale closes.
Psychologists, counselors and other business owners who rent space at 20 Nassau Street told Planet Princeton that in recent months when their leases were up, they were not offered multi-year renewals. Some businesses were offered one-year renewals, and other business owners whose leases were up for renewal recently were offered only month-to-month renewals, business owners said.
“It’s hard to find affordable space in town, and many of my clients are university students. The location is perfect for them because they can walk here for services. I’m not sure where I will go if I have to leave.”” said one professional who did not want to be named.
The 20 Nassau Street property is comprised of four lots. Lot 20 is a 52,000-square-foot, five-story building. It is located in a historic district and is assessed at $7.4 million, according to property tax records. The property generated $172,451 in property tax revenue for 2019. Lot 19 is .20 acres and is assessed at $1.6 million. Property taxes are $36,204. Lot 18 is ,014 acres and is assessed at $1.1 million. Property taxes are $26,148. Lot 17 is .06 acres and is assessed at $431,200. Taxes are $10,055.
According to public records, 20 Nassau Street Professional Building LLC entered into a sales agreement on Oct. 23 with GPNJ Owner LLC for an undisclosed sum. The notice of real estate settlement document for the agreement of sale lists a Chicago address for GPNJ, with Benjamin Weprin listed as the contact. GPNJ is taking out a loan for the purchase.
Weprin, 41, is the founder of Graduate Hotels. a development company that designs hotels near university campuses. The hotels are designed to cater to guests’ nostalgia for college life.
Graduate locations include: Providence, R.I.; Columbus, Ohio; State College, Pa.; Bloomington, Ind.; Tempe, Ariz.; New Haven, Conn.; Athens, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minn.; Madison, Wisc.; Fayetville, Ark.; Richmond, Va.; Iowa City, Iowa; Charlottesville, Va.; Annapolis, Md.; Nashville, Tenn.; Oxford, Miss.; Berkeley, Calif.; Columbia, S.C.; Eugene, Ore.; Seattle, Wash.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Lincoln, Neb.
Politicians in Princeton have mentioned in the past that Princeton University officials wanted another hotel in town. Mayor Liz Lempert told a reporter a year ago that multiple hotel companies approached her wanting to open a new hotel in town and that they were interested in the Monument Hall municipal building site. It is unclear what role the Monument Hall site will play in future development plans. School officials have denied rumors that the school board and town officials have been looking at some kind of land swap where the town would buy the Westminster Choir College property and swap it with the school district for the Valley Road administration building so that municipal employees could be moved from Monument Hall and housed there, and then Monument Hall could be sold as part of the deal.
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