Paterson, NJ Developers Think An Arena Can Help Save A Struggling Shopping Mall

Sports as an economic generator in Paterson, NJ?

It doesn’t appear that any sports league is looking to put a team in Paterson, New Jersey. But there is a proposal put forth by the owners of the financially struggling Center City Mall in the northern New Jersey city that calls for the construction of a 12,000 seat arena which presumably could house a minor league hockey or minor league basketball team along with an indoor football franchise and other arena fare and a hotel. The mall owners think by putting an arena and hotel near the mall, people would not only go to arena events but would shop at the mall. Center City Partners think it will cost $100 million to build an arena, a hotel and a parking garage. But the mall owners don’t want to foot the entire bill. Instead, the ownership filed papers with the New Jersey Economic Development Agency seeking $40 million dollars of tax credits. The state is giving city of Paterson $130 million worth of tax credits to help spur the local economy. Paterson is New Jersey’s third biggest city and once was an economic powerhouse with a silk industry leading the way but by the 1960s, Paterson fell into a steep decline.

Paterson was once the home of the Negro League baseball New York Black Yankees. The team played at Hinchliffe Stadium. That ballpark could also be revitalized as part of the Paterson tax credit plan. The stadium has been closed since 1997. There is a proposal on the table to reopen the park using some of the tax credits which would allow the venue that opened up in 1932 to host soccer, football and track and field events. It is unlikely that Paterson could get a minor league baseball team or have high school teams use the park as the planned renovations do not include a full sized baseball field.