Odette's was once the gateway to New Hope, a lively cabaret bar on the edge of town that for decades epitomized the ebullient spirit of the famously gay-friendly borough.

But lately, it's been an eyesore.

After being ravaged by floods in 2008, the historic building along the Delaware River has sat vacant with boarded-up windows.

A group of local investors is planning to change that.

In about two months, they say, work will begin on the Riverhouse at Odette's, a $25 million facility that will bring luxury hotel rooms, a banquet hall, restaurant, and rooftop bar to the 40,000-square-foot property.

The original stone building - which is more than 200 years old - will be demolished, but Scott Kelley, one of the developers, says the new facility will incorporate pieces of the old structure that can be salvaged, such as stones from the external facade.

New Hope was never dead, locals say. But the revival of the Odette's property is part of what some are describing as a minor renaissance.

Crowds are once again flocking to the Bucks County Playhouse, which reopened three years ago at the center of Main Street. The playhouse's owners are also planning to renovate a vacant building nearby into the Playhouse Inn, and they have expressed interest in opening a farmer's market at another property.

New retailers have opened since the 2008 floods, and some hotels, such as the historic Logan Inn, are planning upgrades.

Kelley estimated that overall development, within five years, could approach $50 million.

Eric Lee, who has owned the Mystickal Tymes gift shop on Main Street for 20 years, hopes all the new activity can take place without disrupting the town's artistic character. For now, he's optimistic.

New Hope "is building into this wonderful place I remember," said Lee, who has seen its fortunes rise and fall. "I'm just hoping it continues to grow with all these new concepts coming in."

Geri Delevich, a borough council member, said she's particularly pleased many of the new projects are bringing some of the quaint town's signature landmarks back to life.

"That charm is still here," she said.

The plans for the new Odette's ran into some early resistance. Delevich said that she was among a contingent that wanted the original structure to be saved.

Constructed in 1784 as the River House - an inn, tavern, and general store - the building was wedged between the Delaware River and, eventually, a neighboring canal. It benefited from being, literally, in the middle of high-traffic waterways for boats traveling to and from New York, and became a town staple.

In 1961, the French actress Odette Myrtil bought the place and turned it into Odette's, a restaurant and piano bar known for its cabaret shows, some of which featured professional performers. Kelley said he had heard its patrons once included Frank Sinatra and Stephen Spielberg.

Ownership changed hands in subsequent years, but Odette's remained in business until 2008, when it was battered by a third major flood in four years, Kelley said. The damage was too great to overcome, and the bar shut down.

Kelley, a former investment banker, took an interest in the property after regularly passing it while jogging about two years ago. Confounded by the dilapidation, Kelley said he contacted the property's owner and, despite having no experience in development, expressed a desire to bring it back to life.

Then, Kelley said, he got in touch with potential investment partners, including Edward Breen, a former chairman of Tyco, a security systems company. Eventually, they and a group of partners put together a plan for the hotel, bought the land in December 2013, and recruited a staff to help with planning and, eventually, to run the day-to-day operations.

Kelley declined to identify all his investors, but his operational team includes Ron Gorodesky and Julie Yeager, both of whom helped launch the Reeds at Shelter Haven, a similar resort in Stone Harbor, N.J.

Their ambitious vision was approved by the borough in November: 34 luxury hotel rooms, a restaurant - named Odette's - a banquet hall for weddings, conferences, and music events, including cabaret shows, plus a rooftop bar with sweeping views of the river.

Kelley, who has lived in New Hope for about 13 years, said, "I wanted to create something close to home, and for this community," and he hopes the finished product will be "transformative" for the entire town.

If nothing else, the new Odette's will join a growing list of projects planned for the riverside retreat.

The Bucks County Playhouse, which was a major destination for topflight theater in its mid-20th-century heyday, reopened in 2012 after being closed for two years. The theater now draws about 50,000 visitors annually, owners Kevin and Sherri Daugherty said in a statement, and the production schedule - overseen by two Broadway veterans - has expanded to include nearly year-round offerings.

The Daughertys are also planning to renovate a vacant building next to the theater to create 12 hotel rooms for what will be called the Playhouse Inn. That project could finish in 2016, they said.

And the couple bought retail space on Main Street that they hope to convert to an open-air farmer's market.

The Logan Inn, across the street from the Playhouse, is expected to be sold to a new owner in March, said longtime manager Maggie Smith, and the plan is to add 24 hotel rooms and a banquet hall.

And several groups are competing to rehabilitate the New Hope Visitors Center, said Jerry Lepping, executive director of Visit Bucks County, which previously ran the facility.

Lee, the Mystickal Tymes owner, said he had seen New Hope go through what he called "crescendos and decrescendos."

With so much activity planned for the next few years, he welcomes the chance for the town to reach another high point.

"It gives new opportunities for new blood to go into town," Lee said, and "put an extra, added note into the music of New Hope."

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