This forum is provided for Hopewell Valley residents with concerns about proposed plans to redevelop the 25-acres known as Pennytown and the development of land owned by Kooltronic adjacent to Marshall’s Corner.

When the Township initially purchased the Pennytown site, the intent was a hamlet-style village for 70 affordable housing units and a community center, yet the development plan expanded to beyond what is sustainable for that area:  the joint development up to 365 new residences — 70 affordable housing units and up to 255 market-rate homes — and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

The Township had considered partnering in the larger development project with Kooltronic, a joint plan which is, for now, off the table.  The Township must now decide how to move forward with the Pennytown site and its plans for affordable housing and a community center.  In addition, Kooltronic has announced its plans to privately develop its land.

Over-development of this area wold have extreme negative impact on local water resources, the environment, traffic, available municipal services and the overall quality of life in  Hopewell Valley.  A guiding principle is to make sure that any development near Marshall’s Corner is appropriate for the environment and in accordance with the Master Plan.


  • On October 28, 2013, the Township Committee announced their new plans to contract with Conifer Realty to build a rental apartment complex with 70 affordable housing units.
  • On March 28, 2013, the Township Committee announced that it will not move forward jointly with Kooltronic on a redevelopment plan.
  • The SUCCESSFUL ONLINE PETITION urging the Township Committee NOT to partner with Kooltronic on Joint Redevelopment CLOSED on March 28 with 844 signatures!   Combined with 106 paper signatures, there were 950 voices against the Joint Plan.
Follow us on Twitter @Save_Pennytown

26 responses

  1. Lorraine Fauver

    From the first time I read about this project I thought it was ridiculous. We already have more than enough retail space and this project would destroy the entire character of Marshall’s Corner. We do not need or want this development. We miss HI rib!

  2. I miss the petting zoo. 😦

  3. I am sick over the prospect of this development.I was born and raised in Hopewell …where is my hometown? How can this not negatively effect the community?

  4. the lawyer for Kool Tronic spoke at the meeting last night (as did I) and I feltt a not so veiled threat in what he had to say. Scary.

  5. Jeanine Vaccarino

    Pennytown went out of business….doesn’t the twp remember that??? No need for more stores to sit empty or to turn over year after year without a useful store remaining.

  6. I don’t see how it’s possible to fit more kids in the schools.

  7. there’s a lot of history behind penny town going away. george briehler sold it to a fellow with the last name of myers who then sold it to another group. the second group did nothing to promote or even try to encourage the remaining tenants to stay, as the project they had planned for it was torpedoed by the township council.

    it just deteriorated to the point of no return. business decisions by private owners brought us to this situation. The petting zoo was lovely, in it’s day. the rib place was great, but couldn’t stay. can’t look back. have to move forward, but in a sensible way.

  8. Barbara Anderson

    Where is the need for more houses than the required COAH requirement. In our area we already have several homes that are bank foreclosures as well as the normal houses up for sale. Homes in Titusville are being offered at prices that are effecting real estate values of other homes in this area. The township is raising our taxes because there is a delinquency of property tax revenue due to people’s inability to pay our high taxes. Do we really need to add 355 more homes and destroy the beautiful community of Marshall’s Corner?

  9. Born and raised in Hopewell. Development at the levels suggested dramatically changes the main reason why many stay here or move here.

    Some miss HI Rib. I miss Stage Depot and Hiohela bowling alley! Any other 40-somethings with me?

  10. I oppose the housing development proposed for the Pennytown area.

  11. Kristy Jackson

    We don’t need anymore traffic on route 31!

  12. Paul Prestopino

    This sort of development would drastically change the demography of a small town. Better to stick with the original 70 unit plan and maintain some open space.

  13. Why did we, the taxpayers, pay $7M to remove a property from the tax rolls so we could increase our taxes further to make up the lost revenue? Did it really help to close HI Rib eliminating jobs in a recession and losing more tax revenue? Government has become too big, too intrusive and too expensive — NJ & Hopewell Twp. are part of the problem — it’s time for change. It is never too early to begin to plan to (a) replace the politicians who promote such things contrary to the will of the people and who lack common sense, and (b) conduct a petition drive to defeat any funding.

  14. jeanharrington2013

    Once upon a time, but 5+years ago, Kooltronics, was all for the environment, in fact they went out their way to create lost habitats, citing over-development as their reason.This is taken from their website, as of March 25, 2013:

    Wildlife Habitat

    “The state of New Jersey has experienced rapid over-development that threatens natural species,” said Barry Freedman, president of Kooltronic. “Our 100-acre site has ample space to support native songbirds and waterfowl, so we are taking measures to establish a safe and welcoming habitat for them.”

    Kooltronic has installed wood duck nesting boxes along a pond and bluebird boxes along fields on its site. Volunteers from Kooltronic and local Boy Scouts constructed and mounted the boxes.

    “Both the wood duck and the bluebird have been hard hit by loss of habitat and environmental contaminants,” said Freedman. “Since our facility can provide a safe habitat for them, we want to do what we can to preserve these native species in their natural environment.”

    In June of 2006 Kooltronic, Inc. was presented with the Conservation and Open Space Award from the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs in recognition of its efforts to maintain open space and manage wildlife through scientific and biological practices. Kooltronic is recognized as a company at the forefront of corporate environmental responsibility and good neighbor relations.

  15. jeanharrington2013

    Here’s a link to the Kooltronic’s site:

  16. Route 31 needs to be gutted, and expanded into two lanes in each direction.

  17. My hometown is Hopewell and I have been around here for most my life, I do agree that this housing project is not necessary. The traffic situation would be a bigger problem, even without the project 31 should be a four lane roadway to eliminate some of the congestion we already have…

  18. I agree with Larry Clarke’s comments. I would also take Kooltronic up on it’s offer to “go it alone” on the redevelopment. COAH is in limbo. Why try to satisfy a requirement that may disappear? Also, it is likely that the site conditions on Kooltronic’s property do not allow for the number of units they would like to build. Spray irrigation of wastewater doesn’t work in New Jersey. It freezes in the winter (!) Possibly the water re-use ‘scheme’ is needed to skirt more stringent NJDEP Water Allocation regulations that would kick in if the actual volume of water needed for those houses was considered. There is no reason that Hopewell Township should be assisting with the development of this ill-conceived project. I recommend leaving Kooltronic high and DRY (literally).

  19. Job well done! We live in the sourland and we’re very interested in helping out and participatinfing anyway we can to insure only sensible and responsible development take place in our area. Please notify and update us so that we can get involved.

  20. Madeline Grabowski

    I have lived in the New Brunswick area all my life and saw Rt.18 in East Brunswick change from farms and fields to the mess of stores and traffic that it is today. I often travel to your area to enjoy the pristine beauty and find that just driving on Rt. 518 is both therapeutic and relaxing. Please, those of you living in that area, try to preserve that area as much as possible and not fall victim to more development.

  21. I have lived in New Jersey for 35 years and am beyond disgusted at the over development of what was once known as the Garden State. HI Rib was a successful restaurant with dedicated staff and customers (of which my family is included). To tear it down with the prospect of yet another unwanted development is revolting. perfaps these developers should visit Hunterdon county where a significant amount of new developments (mainly office space) are sitting empty.

  22. The print on your signs is not big enough to read when I drive by them. It took me months to figure out what they said. My eyesight is 20/20.

  23. Hopewell is where my ancestors settled in the early 1800’s. I lived and worked there in my teens and am now looking to return to the area. Just today I took a drive up through Pennington, Hopewell and through the Amwell’s. I was so thrilled that although things have changed some, mostly the area is how I remember it in the 80’s. This area needs to remain rural.

  24. Now that Kooltronics will have to foot the bill themselves has there been any update on their plans?

  25. VOTE CEFALONE-SHAUB for sensible solutions for Pennytown!

  26. Writing about local farm history in NJ notably the biggest change has been development, because in the 50’s thru 70’s construction graft, new roads, higher property taxes temporarily raised local/state revenue until infrastructure aged, needing improvement. From then on the graft crowd got lucrative maintenance contracts. All of these failed to generate a sustainable economy. Property tax for revenue is an old outlived dusty idea and only comes out when a few individuals want to increase their personal wealth. On the other hand, ecotourism generated 7 billion last year and will increase so long as there is wildlife to visit. If you have just a little property grow an heirloom plant or tree or create a garden. That’s where the sustainable economy is but not so much graft.

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