State officials approved $67.2 million in state financing for the redevelopment of the historic Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, a site that has remained empty and dilapidated for 25 years.
Proponents of the project contend it could be just what the Passaic County seat needs to emerge from the pandemic-induced recession.
The Feb. 10 action by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth gap financing program means the developers behind the $93.8 million project finally have the funds to proceed with the project. Construction is expected to start in late March and is slated to be completed in August 2022, NJEDA officials said at a remotely held meeting. The project is being handled by BAW Development and RPM Development.
A central component of the work is rebuilding the 7,800-seat stadium to host local cultural, education and sporting events. There will be a 315-space parking garage and a 75-unit senior apartment building.
The stadium itself will include a two-story restaurant and 12,000 square feet of exhibition space to showcase its local history. The site was named a National Historic Landmark in 2013, and is one of the few remaining stadiums that hosted games for Black-only baseball leagues from the 20th century era of segregated baseball.
Baye Adofo-Wilson, BAW’s chief executive officer and a former Paterson official, said in an email that this aspect of the stadium contributes to its “rich history as part of Negro League Baseball.”
“But it now fundamentally [is] an infrastructure project too that needs to be placed back into service. I’m proud that we can acknowledge and do both,” he said.
Tim Sullivan, chief executive officer of the NJEDA, said in a statement that the redevelopment will “create jobs, provide much-needed affordable housing for seniors and bring valuable community assets to Paterson.”
“Furthermore, rehabilitating a historic landmark that was the site of major accomplishments by Black athletes will send an important message that New Jersey values our diverse residents and is committed to supporting and celebrating their achievements.”
Paterson Mayor Andrew Sayegh called the project an “economic boost” to the city, especially as local and state officials seek to ignite an economic recovery.l