The Princeton Town Council met on Monday, Nov. 8 for its regular meeting. The agenda included discussing plans for the Graduate Hotel on Nassau Street, more debate on approving a liquor license for a new Claridge Wine & Liquor location on Nassau Street, and initial plans for a dog park in Princeton.
The Graduate Hotel presented its construction plan to the Council, which still has to be approved by the engineering committee. Alexander Craig, the construction manager for the project, said the construction would start in Nov. 2021 and be complete around Dec. 2023.
In the proposed plan, the businesses located underneath the construction site, which include Jammin’ Crepes, Milk and Cookies, and Small Bites, are to remain untouched. The office space above would be converted to hotel rooms. Additionally, the neighboring building on Chambers Street would be demolished and rebuilt as a five-story hotel building.
The Council was also presented with a plan for a new dog park. Dr. Calvin Chin, the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) at the University, represented the Dog Park Task Force and proposed several options for the design of the park, including the possibility of one large dog park or multiple smaller “neighborhood” dog parks. The proposal for a dog park first started in 2013, and was formally organized in 2019 before being stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Council indicated being in favor of a dog park.
“It really would build community,” Councilmember Mia Sacks said.
Municipality of Princeton Administrator Bernard Hvozdovic Jr. will now organize a committee that includes members of the Council and current members of the Dog Park Task Force to move the project forward.
The Council also continued its debate from its last meeting about whether to allow Claridge Wine & Liquor to open a location at 102 Nassau Street, formerly Landau, in between Starbucks and H1912. The debate lasted nearly two hours during the last meeting and another 90 minutes on Monday. Members of the public and the Council remained divided over the issue.
“This the most difficult decision I’ve made since I’ve been on council, and I can’t believe that it’s over a liquor store because we’ve certainly debated over much more complex things,” Councilmember Sacks said.
The Council approved the liquor store 5–1, with Councilmember Michelle Pirone Lambros being the sole ‘no’ vote. However, despite the final count, the vote was in fact quite close, with Sacks, Pirone Lambros, and Councilmember Dwaine Williamson all being unsure of their vote. Pirone Lambros said she was “51 percent no, 49 percent yes,” and Williamson said he was “51 percent yes, 49 percent no.” With this vote, Claridge can now move into the space and begin doing business.
The Council also unanimously voted to preserve the largest undeveloped parcel of land in Princeton — 153 acres — as open space.
The full meeting can be viewed on YouTube here.
The next Council meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 22.
Charlie Roth is a news contributor for the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @imcharlieroth on Twitter or Instagram.