Somerset County first to use C-PACE financing to make Natirar Resort environmentally efficient

Natirar Resort in Peapack & Gladstone has teamed up with Somerset County Improvement Authority to secure funding through New Jersey’s first ever Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.

The $26 million bond will be used for Natirar to finance environmentally efficient improvements, to ensure both its existing historic buildings, new luxury hotel and residential community minimizes its eco-footprint.

“Somerset County is committed to both expanding our destination tourism industry and protecting our environment, and this C-PACE project with Natirar is a perfect example of how we can do both,” Somerset County Commissioner Deputy Director Melonie Marano said. “Natirar’s fantastic history, stunning open space, new hotel resort and the Ninety Acres restaurant will be an environmentally sensitive draw to people down the street and across the country.”

Somerset County’s hospitality industry was particularly hard hit by the COVID pandemic’s reduction in business travel, and the County has been working to expand its historical, event, and destination tourism to make up for the loss. When the Natirar Spa and Resort is completed, it will be a significant addition to Somerset County’s wedding, health and wellness, and farm-to-table tourism markets.

The C-PACE program was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in August 2021 and was sponsored by Somerset County’s own Senator Kip Bateman along with Senator Bob Smith and Assemblyman Raj Mukerji. C-PACE projects around the country have led to more businesses and landlords embracing renewable energy, climate resiliency technology, and other clean energy measures that improve our communities while saving money for developers and local residents.

“I am incredibly excited that after more than 8 years of planning, alongside our financing partner and trusted advisors at ConnectOne Bank, Natirar is moving forward with the full renovation and expansion of the historic 1912 mansion into a world-class resort and spa,” said Bob Wojtowicz, founder and owner of Natirar. “The partnership with Somerset County and the Borough of Peapack and Gladstone on the Commercial-PACE funding will result in a reduced environmental footprint and utility expense for the property moving forward. This application of C-PACE is the first of its kind in the state of New Jersey, enabling Natirar to serve as a beacon of sustainability for the state and local community.”

The Natirar Resort in Peapack & Gladstone will consist of the newly refurbished Ninety Acres restaurant, a sixty-six-room luxury hotel, a 12,000-foot luxury spa, a fitness and wellness center, residential homes, and various other supporting resort facilities. The resort sits on 90 acres leased from Somerset County in 2003 and is connected with the County’s 404-acre Natirar Park that runs along the North Branch of the Raritan River.

There are three partners making this first ever New Jersey C-PACE program possible: the SCIA is providing the financing authority using Somerset County’s low interest rates based on its AAA bond rating with no impact to the County budget; Peapack & Gladstone which passed the required ordinance allowing the program to go forward in their municipality; and the Natirar Resort which commits to make special property tax assessment payments to Peapack & Gladstone to pay off the 30-year loan.

Some of the upgrades and new projects will include green roofing, renewable energy projects, specialized lighting systems, e-glass windows, and highly efficient HVAC systems in all buildings.