Blues and rock club The Stanhope House could be sold and razed

by JAY LUSTIG
stanhope house

The Stanhope House is in need of major improvements and may be sold.

One of Northern New Jersey’s most venerable concert venues, The Stanhope House, currently has shows scheduled through Dec. 30. But its future beyond then is uncertain. (NOV. 30 UPDATE: Shows are now scheduled through Jan. 6.)

In July, the Stanhope mayor and council, acting on the recommendation of the town’s land use board, designated the Stanhope House’s block an “area in need of redevelopment.”

An anonymous source said that the Stanhope House currently “needs in excess of $300K in structural renovations” and is currently “under contract” to be sold, contingent on the town approving the redevelopment proposal. (NOV. 28 UPDATE: The redevelopment proposal, which calls for “the introduction of retail use” and “the strengthening of the existing village commercial uses through the introduction of the residential units,” can be read HERE.)

A “Save The Stanhope House!!” petition was started on change.org on by Robert Gregory Jones of the website thebuzzer.com, on Nov. 22. It currently has about 700 signatures. (NOV. 28 UPDATE: It now has more than 1,500 signatures.) It states: “The undersigned are appalled at plans progressing by the Borough of Stanhope, NJ to demolish the historic Stanhope House, a nationally renowned legendary blues and music venue. We ask (that) the pending ordinance in front of the Council allowing redevelopment be set aside while the arts community may pursue ways to help restore the building and keep the music alive!”

The petition is at change.org/p/save-the-stanhope-house.

Also, Cristy Benvenutti, president of the North Jersey Blues Society, says she is submitting an application to the national historic registry. The Stanhope House currently does not have any kind of official historic designation.

When will the redevelopment plan be submitted to the town for approval? “Per Greg Jones, it will be on the agenda in January,” said Benvenutti. “I’m monitoring the town agendas, and nothing related to Stanhope House is on the agenda for next week’s meeting.”

The Stanhouse House, which is housed in a building constructed in 1794, bills itself as “The Last Great American Roadhouse.” Artists who have played there over the years include Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Johnny Winter, Jorma Kaukonen, Warren Haynes and Robert Randolph.

For updates, visit stanhopehousenj.com.

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