State officials are taking steps to turn Meadowlands business districts into major retail hubs as the region prepares to host several high-profile sports and entertainment events in the next two years.
As part of the effort, the Department of Community Affairs next week will host two days of workshops focused on bringing in new companies and building “destination businesses” to attract visitors, according to an agency news release. Local officials and business leaders that attend are expected to get access to detailed economic data and meet with experts on downtown revitalization and marketing.
The workshops are part of the state’s effort to help Meadowlands merchants and towns “take full advantage of the tourism dollars that will flow into the region as a result of top-flight sports and entertainment events,” said Marcia Karrow, executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, in a prepared statement. In the next two years, North Jersey will host events like WWE’s Wrestlemania, the first of 10 Formula One Grand Prix races and the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, the commission is preparing a marketing campaign, “Meet Me in the Meadowlands,” that aims to promote the region as a destination for shopping, dining and recreation options. Melissa Nichols, the agency’s special assistant to the executive director, said the platform could be formally unveiled in early 2013 with advertising, mailers and an interactive website that allows visitors to plan an agenda to the region.
“We’re in process of meeting with the towns right now to really drill down what specific areas we could feature that would be helpful to them,” Nichols said. “The goal is to really get beyond our district. In a perfect world, we really want to hit that mid-Atlantic tourism group, so that we’re looking at people coming from Washington, D.C., or south from Boston.”
She said the campaign also hopes to draw visitors who are coming from far beyond New Jersey to the upcoming sporting events and the Xanadu retail and entertainment complex the state is working to open as American Dream Meadowlands.
The workshops are titled “Destination Meadowlands,” and will be held April 18 and 19 at the Meadowlands Environment Center, in Lyndhurst. The Meadowlands Commission is the zoning and planning agency for 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson counties.