FREEHOLD — Residents will have to wait a little longer for the reopening of a borough landmark, but its owner says reconstruction is still on course.
The American Hotel, a mainstay of Main Street, was expected to be open for business by this summer. But due to unanticipated problems with the existing building, owner Steve Goldberg now says the hotel will likely be open closer to the end of the year.
"I'm hoping by Christmas to be open," he said recently.
The hotel's restoration continued last week with the erection of a steel structure that will replace a portion of the hotel that was demolished in January.
About 6,000 square feet of the hotel had to be torn down in January when it was determined to be structurally unsound, an unexpected setback in the hotel's restoration that Goldberg said has contributed to its delay.
With the building's steel underpinnings set up, the next step will be to enclose the structure. Then work can begin on the interior of the building, Goldberg said.
Larry Bloom, an Englishtown resident eating lunch in Freehold last week, hailed the work being done.
"I've been eagerly waiting to see something more," said Bloom, 62.
As he renovates, Goldberg intends to rebuild the hotel in a manner similar to its original appearance, he has said.
Goldberg's plans for the hotel include a new restaurant, a lobby and lounge area, catering facilities, a general meeting area and 22 hotel rooms.
The reopening of the American Hotel would mean the continuance of a borough fixture, which has been a part of the downtown landscape since 1824 when it was built as a stagecoach stop. The hotel was later enlarged in 1928.
The building was closed down for fire code violations in Januar
The empty building was then significantly damaged by a fire in February 2005.
Before it closed, Karen Pierce of Spring Lake Heights said she often ate at the hotel's restaurant and attended gatherings there.