Historic Freehold Hotel Will Get A Second Life
By BOB JORDAN
Originally Posted in Asbury Park Press
July 18, 2007
Plans for a remodeling and reopening of the historic American Hotel on Main Street were unveiled by a Manalapan businessman at a borough hall news conference Tuesday.
Steve Goldberg, 54, who purchased the building and its liquor license for $2.5 million in a bankruptcy sale last year, said his plans call for preserving the hotel’s history while rolling out a new restaurant, a lobby and lounge area, catering facilities, a general meeting area and 22 hotel rooms.
Goldberg said the work, which he estimated to cost $3.5 million, may be done by next spring.
“It’s an exciting time in Freehold Borough,” said Mayor Michael Wilson, who was among the government officials and local business owners attending Goldberg’s presentation.
“The American Hotel suffered from neglect, poor ownership and a fire. It’s coming back to rise from the dead,” Wilson said.
Goldberg owns the Young at Heart adult day care centers in Brick and Jackson. In October 2005, Truong Dinh Tran, who operated hotels in New York, won the property over 15 other bidders, buying the American Hotel and liquor license for $4.35 million, but he later defaulted on the sale, and Goldberg became the owner in March 2006.
The American Hotel was a restaurant/tavern and banquet hall when it closed for fire-code violations in January 2004. The three-story structure was built as a stagecoach stop in 1824 and enlarged in 1928.
It’s been about a year since I bought the place, and it’s taken about this long to develop these plans.
Goldberg said the hotel lobby, restaurant, catering room and lounge will comprise 17,000 square feet and that the 22 hotel rooms will take up an additional 10,000 square feet.
Goldberg said Michael Testa, Manalapan, is the project architect. Anthony Cammallere of T&K Contractors, Freehold, and Rob Kash, who is serving as a project manager and coordinator, are also involved in the work.
“This is going to be met with such overwhelming praise,” said David Singer, a local business operator. “People have been saying, “What’s going to happen with this place?’ Now we have a great plan that’s really going to impact everything in the downtown area. It’s been this eyesore that is going to be transformed.”
Internal demolition permits already have been obtained. The inside work is partly necessary because of a 2005 fire, Goldberg said.
Construction permits will be sought when plans are finalized, he said.
“In essence, the project has begun. You don’t see a lot of activity outside, but on the inside it’s happening,” Goldberg said. “We expect the entire renovation will take 12 months or less.”
Wilson and Borough Attorney Kerry Higgins said Freehold has a tax abatement ordinance that gives downtown business owners an incentive to upgrade their properties. The higher taxes resulting from the improvements can be phased in over a five-year period, they said. Goldberg said he will seek to obtain the abatement.
Bob Jordan: (732) 308-7755 or firstname.lastname@example.org
THE AMERICAN HOTEL
- The American Hotel is on Main Street in downtown Freehold.
- Built in 1824, it was expanded in 1928.
- For decades, it operated as a tavern-restaurant-banquet hall, rather than for lodging, until it closed in January 2004.
- Steve Goldberg, Manalapan, bought the property and liquor license for $2.5 million in a bankruptcy in 2006. On Tuesday, he announced a $3.5 million remodeling project and said a reopening is planned for 2008.