In New Jersey, Paterson—long a poster child of bad urban planning—is a city in need of transformative investment. The median income in the city is just $28,000 and the current unemployment rate is above nine percent – double the national average. Many Paterson residents live in dilapidated homes that are more than 50 years old. This is problematic for many tenants and is particularly dangerous for seniors.
Now on February 10, 2020, one such transformative investment arrived. That’s when the New Jersey Economic Development Authority‘s (NJEDA) Board of Directors approved an Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program tax credit for the redevelopment of long-abandoned Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey.
“The revitalization of Hinchliffe Stadium is the economic boost Paterson needs as we begin our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to build up our city,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
“Hinchliffe Stadium is an iconic part of Paterson’s history that has been left vacant and in disrepair for too long. I thank the Paterson City Council, Paterson School Board, and many other local leaders who have helped move this project forward. The NJEDA support approved today will allow us to finally begin the process of restoring this historic site and adapting it to the needs of today’s Paterson residents. I am thrilled the NJEDA Board has chosen to support this project and eagerly anticipate the many benefits this project will bring to Paterson,” he continued.
The redevelopment of the historic stadium, which has been vacant for decades, will include a museum honoring the site’s history as a Negro League baseball stadium, a stadium and recreational center for the Paterson community, affordable housing for seniors, a restaurant and event space, and a parking garage.
“The resurrection of Hinchliffe Stadium is not just about an historic ballpark, but about uplifting a neighborhood in a city that is making strides toward its own revitalization,” said Senator Nellie Pou.
“While it has been tragic to see Hinchliffe fall into disrepair over these many years, today we imagine a new Hinchliffe that will not only look back at the sacrifice and endurance of such players as Paterson’s own Larry Doby, but will one day provide an opportunity for future boys and girls who can be inspired by its very existence toward their own unique greatness. This ERG award will nurture the future of Hinchliffe Stadium, and its surrounding neighborhood, so that together they will once again become a vibrant part of Paterson, a sorely needed recreational asset for its young people, and a source of renewal for the entire city for many years to come,” she added.
This redevelopment will provide essential resources for the Paterson community. Paterson public schools will use the stadium for sports games, graduations, and other events, and the event space will host public recreation programs. In addition to providing new, affordable housing for elderly residents, the senior housing will include on-site social services for residents. The project will create 182 construction jobs and more once the stadium, restaurant, and event space are open.
“The Hinchcliffe Stadium revitalization project is great news for the City of Paterson,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “This all-encompassing project is just the kind that changes a community and helps its citizens grow and thrive. Job creation, a strong economic boost, and safe housing for seniors are more than welcomed, Paterson deserves it. In addition, the cultural impact in honoring the site’s history as a Negro League baseball stadium with a museum, a stadium, and a recreational center for the community will finally recognize Paterson’s esteemed place in sports history.”
The Hinchliffe Stadium redevelopment project will play a central role in addressing these challenges and positioning Paterson for long-term success. The project site, a National Historic Landmark that hosted two Negro League baseball teams, is currently vacant and in a state of dangerous disrepair. The planned redevelopment honors the history of this site while providing much-needed resources to the residents who call Paterson home today.
“Bringing back this historic stadium will not only have a positive impact on people’s lives, but it will also pay proper tribute to the Negro League legends who played on this field,” said former professional baseball player Dwight “Dr. K” Gooden.
The revitalized Hinchliffe Stadium will incorporate a variety of valuable community assets that will provide resources and job opportunities for Paterson residents. The site will include a 7,800-seat stadium and recreational and cultural facility with a museum dedicated to Negro League baseball. The project will also include 75 units of affordable housing for seniors and a 12,000 square-foot restaurant and event space. To accommodate residents and visitors, the project also includes a 315-spot parking garage.
“Paterson is a magical place for me and my family. My hope is that other Patersonians can excel on this hallowed ground just like my father did,” said Larry Doby, Jr., son of Larry Doby, a baseball Hall-of-Famer who was the second Black player in the Major League.
The revitalization of Hinchliffe Stadium is slated to begin in March 2021, with anticipated completion in August 2022. RPM Development LLC and BAW Development LLC will lead the redevelopment. RPM is a leading developer of affordable housing in New Jersey, with experience in developing, constructing, and managing affordable housing properties. BAW Development is a minority-owned business that specializes in residential and mixed-use properties. The CEO of BAW Development is from Paterson. Life Management, Inc., a New Jersey-based nonprofit, will provide on-site social services for senior residents.
“The Hinchliffe Stadium redevelopment is an exciting project that will have a significant impact in Paterson and provide a valuable economic boost for New Jersey at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt our economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.
“This project 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. The NJEDA is proud to support this project and we look forward to working with Mayor Sayegh to see it through to completion,” he added.
Per statutory requirements, the ERG tax credit approved today includes 80 percent of eligible project costs associated with non-parking components and 100 percent of the eligible costs associated with the parking components of the project. Developer fees, acquisition costs, and other ineligible expenses are excluded from the calculation of the award. No tax credits will be distributed until the NJEDA certifies successful completion of the project.
“I’m extremely excited for the Hinchcliffe Stadium redevelopment project in Paterson,” said Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter. “The city, as well as the State of New Jersey, will benefit from the economic stimulus this type of grand scale revitalization will provide. The Paterson community has been hit hard during COVID-19. This project will play a pivotal role in helping families and businesses rebuild stronger post-pandemic.”
In addition to this ERG award, the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) have committed funding to support the redevelopment of Hinchliffe Stadium. The project has also received funding from the City of Paterson and private investors.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
Aerial photo (November 2020) of Hinchliffe Stadium with Great Falls in foreground is by Parkerjh via Wikipedia.