The not-so-iconic tower at the Kings Inn motel on Routes 1&9 will have to live on via the Internet — its claim to fame found in this video for a once-popular 1990s hip hop song — because its days are numbered.
Steve Patel, who owns the Kings Inn along with his father, came before the Redevelopment Agency last month seeking permission to demolish the pyramid-like structure that sits to the south end of the Kings Inn building.
The previous owners had asked to cut the tower/pyramid in half, said Patel, who also owns a hotel in Princeton. “We never wanted the pyramid,” he said. “We want to rip it out.” The predecessors had asked to cut the tower in half and also did not keep the breakfast area near the office because they wanted to save a room. Patel said they would be able to increase parking by putting the lobby in the breakfast area. The Kings Inn had 52 rooms but will have 49 when it reopens because a breakfast area will be added into the lobby area.
The property changed hands in June 2012 for $770,000 and most recently had a property tax bill of about $38,000, based on a 2013 assessment of $629,000 (which was down from $741,300 the previous year), according to property records.
Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan said commissioners only needed to consent to the demolition of the tower but an amendment to the redevelopment agreement was not required. Commissioners seemed amenable to the change, not exactly feeling like an iconic monument was going to be demolished. No word on when demolition might occur.
Patel described to commissioners some of the challenges to redeveloping the building over the past two years. Hurricane Irene in August 2011 flooded the hotel with several feet of water during construction, Patel said, losing everything and requiring the building to be gutted. At the time, there was a section of the hotel, about a dozen rooms and the lobby, that had been completed and ready for a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO).
At one point, a Super 8 was the plan when designs were conceived several years ago but Patel said what was once a mediocre Wyndham brand is now more mid-scale and its top brand. The new Kings Inn would be among the first prototypes and rates would be more in line with reputable hotels along 1&9, he said, adding that 1&9 “for the hotel industry is great.”