The Meadowlands is already a large entertainment asset in the tri-state area. There’s American Dream Mall, the racetrack and MetLife Stadium, among other key locations.
Now, imagine adding a convention center to the mix: a super-regional and national player in almost every event type — a ballroom and meeting rooms for conferences, conventions and trade shows, youth sporting events and other entertainment venues.
The Meadowlands Chamber and its Convention & Visitors Bureau on Friday revealed the results of a recent feasibility study made possible through a $50,000 award from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which showed how adding a convention center would impact the area.
The Meadowlands 2040 Foundation has worked with Hunden Strategic Partners since 2021 to first advance a Phase One Market Analysis, and now, a Phase Two Economic Impact Analysis.
According to the Meadowlands 2040 Foundation, the center would round out a cohesive, connected, walkable entertainment destination — in short, a transformative asset to the Meadowlands Sports Complex that would bring jobs and revenue to the area.
“The NJEDA’s Asset Activation Program underlines the need to leverage opportunities that will create jobs and grow our economy. This grant support is validation for what we already know: The Meadowlands Sports Complex is the only place in the NYC metro area that has a piece of land sizeable enough to respond to the stated need for a flexible multiuse venue,” Jim Kirkos, executive director of the 2040 Foundation and CEO and president of the chamber and CVB, said.
In 2021, the 2040 Foundation and the chamber & CVB revealed an outline for a proposed 460,000-square-foot facility that includes:
- 300,000 square feet of flexible exhibition space, which could be used for a large convention/exhibition or a sporting event;
- 100,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes room for smaller breakout and meeting rooms;
- 60,000 square feet of banquet space, which could host events of up to 2,500 people.
Kirkos, the chamber, the CVB and the foundation, together with Bergen County Executive James Tedesco and Senate Budget Director Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), have expressed their support of the project and stated that it will not only benefit the community, but the regional economy as well.
“We are on the precipice of providing the Meadowlands Sports Complex with an asset that will propel economic growth in the region the same way the ‘Big M’ and Giants Stadium did in the 1970s,” Kirkos said. “The next use for the findings is to compel the state to immediately advance the process of establishing an organization and funding process that responds to the market demand opportunity the study reveals.”
“The work we are doing now is representative of how important long-term planning will be for the region’s vibrancy and relevancy,” Fletch Creamer Jr., chairman of the 2040 Foundation, said. “New Jersey’s business community is very enthusiastic about replacing the shuttered arena and maximizing our tourism and destination-related assets.”
The NJEDA’s Asset Activation Planning Grant Program provides grants of up to $50,000 directly to grantees for predevelopment planning that will demonstrate viability of projects that activate underutilized public assets that benefit their communities and the regional economy. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority — the owner of the property — provided an endorsement to the value and relevance of the study, a key requirement for securing the grant. The Meadowlands 2040 Foundation grant was the first and is the largest grant received through the program.