By Natalya Bucuy
Digital First Media
NEW HOPE >> The heart of New Hope already features a popular theater, a visitors center and plans are moving forward to convert an old mall into a farmers market – all spearheaded by the Bridge Street Foundation.
And by the end of 2017 the foundation, which owns the Bucks County Playhouse, plans to add yet another project to its growing list - a hotel and restaurant connected to the playhouse along the Delaware River.
At its meeting on March 15, the New Hope Borough Council approved the necessary conditional use permit for the new Playhouse Inn, which will include the renovation of a longtime borough eyesore – the former Zedar’s night club building.
Plans call for renovating the former Zadar’s night club building located at 50 South Main Street adjacent to the Bucks County Playhouse into a 200-seat restaurant and a 12-room hotel with rooms overlooking the downtown and the scenic Delaware River.
The renovations to the building include removal and replacement of roof and wall materials, a three-floor addition on the southern end of the existing building and an expansion of the third floor, all to accommodate the proposed Inn and related restaurant use as well as an enclosure around a proposed passenger elevator.
Representatives from the foundation also requested a reduction in the number of required parking spaces, from 82 to 35, for the new Playhouse Inn.
Following the hearing and a short executive session, the council granted the conditional use application, approving the renovations, but reduced the number of required parking spaces to 62 not to the requested 35.
The council expressed concern that reducing the required number of parking spaces would send the wrong message to future developers in the borough.
“I think it sets a terrible precedent to all the growth we have happening in the borough,” said council member Claire Shaw referring to parking negotiations.
The 1950s building has been vacant for more than a decade, following the closure of a popular night club Zadar. Since the closure proposals for building reuse, including a museum, have not materialized.
The dilapidated building has become an eyesore and local residents present at the meeting expressed support for the current renovation plans.