Published On: Wed, Apr 2nd, 2014

VIDEO: Plan to build massive ’boutique’ hotel/restaurant on Odette’s site in New Hope meets serious pushback, HARB-style

New Hope HARB Chairperson Iain Haight-Ashton (Photo: Charlie Sahner)

New Hope HARB Chairperson Iain Haight-Ashton (Photo: Charlie Sahner)

New Hope’s Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) considered a conceptual plan Tuesday night that would see the remains of the famed but flood-ravaged Odette’s cabaret club torn down and replaced with a four-level “boutique” hotel/banquet hall designed to look like a 19th century paper mill.

In the end, HARB questioned the assertion of the applicant — investment group Gateway to New Hope, LLC — that restoring the original Odette’s wasn’t possible, and that “the only way to go” was to level the existing site dating back to 1794, and attempt to utilize original fragments of wood and stone in a massive new construction.

HARB decided to appoint a new structural engineer in conjunction with Gateway to New Hope to assess whether the original building can be salvaged prior to reviewing the historical appropriateness of the proposed plan.

Edward Breen at Borough Council meeting Feb. 18 (Photo: Charlie Sahner)

Edward Breen at Borough Council meeting Feb. 18 (Photo: Charlie Sahner)

Two members of Odette’s owner Gateway to New Hope — Edward Breen and John Sprandio — led the team that in 2013 opened the Reeds at Shelter Haven, a hotel/restaurant in Stone Harbor, NJ. Breen served as CEO of conglomerate Tyco, and received a “golden parachute when he stepped down…with compensation, retirement pay, stock and other exit goodies valued at more than $150 million,” according to USA Today.

The group also includes Mike Amery, Scott Kelley and Tom Lynch.

Philadelphia-based architect Richard Stokes completed the initial design phase, which was presented before New Hope Borough Council on Feb. 18.

“It simply can’t be raised without crumbling on its own,” asserted Kelley when questioned about saving the existing Odette’s structure. “It’s not feasible.”

Several members of New Hope’s HARB remained unconvinced of that claim when the dust settled, hence the recommendation of a new structural analysis. With Zoning Hearing Board and Borough Council reviews yet ahead in addition to at least a couple of more HARB discussions, Gateway to New Hope has its work cut out for it.

 

 

 

 

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Displaying 5 Comments
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  1. With that photo of Mr. Breen and by highlighting his personal information with such inflammatory rhetoric, you are obviously attempting to cast a pall over this project. I’m not buying it. If one were to look past their classist noses and look at successes the GTNH members have achieved, they would see how the community would benefit. I’m curious as to whether you will also print the HARP members fiscal backgrounds and show us what economically beneficial plans they have for this site?

  2. scott.allan.watkins@gmail.com' Scott says:

    It would need to be raised on pilings? Is that regardless of what use the facility provides if it is commercial? Sounds like the site should be a museum or ruins. I can’t visualize the current structure on pilings maintaining the historic aspect of the building. Surely it can be used at ground level.

  3. It’s obvious that the proposed hotel/banquet hall will cater to the rich, and not to the typical New Hope visitor. It was even stated during the meeting that most amenities in town are unacceptable to the investment group. Really? I guess they prefer amenities that are oversized and new (like their own homes), rather than those that are
    small and historical. If indeed the stone building cannot be saved, what would be wrong with letting the property return to nature as part of the scenic towpath hiking/biking trail? It would make a great stopover/picnic area, and a beautiful place for locals to hold events along our treasured Delaware River. Moreover, local stonemasons could lovingly re-purpose the stones from “Odette’s” to create flower beds and seating areas, etc. Unfortunately, “Odette’s” is now owned by Gateway to New Hope, LLC, and they came here to make money.

  4. collettebrice@hotmail.com' Anonymous Local says:

    The current state of the building is dangerous and an eyesore. Odette’s of yesteryear is gone you can not fix that building. I am sure it is difficult for historians or people with fond memories to let go of it but it is not doing the town any good in it’s current condition, it is a total liability. I would much rather see a viable business in that location that can bring in tourists. Please reconsider.

  5. ralph smith says:

    I’m not sure that its the right building but its a lot better than the decay we have now. I seriously doubt that anything much can be saved from the old structure. certainly not enough to make a viable business. the question I havent heard answered is whether or not the parking lot would handle a full capacity crowd in such a building.

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