PATERSON, N.J., April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Yesterday, one day before the 74th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, politicians and real estate executives joined at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson to mark the beginning of the restoration of the ballpark, one of just two remaining stadium structures that hosted Negro League baseball games.
Dignitaries at the event included Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, NJ Senator Nellie Pou and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly as well as retired baseball stars CC Sabathia, Willie Randolph and Harold Reynolds. Also present were BAW Development Founder Baye Adofo-Wilson, who serves as majority owner and lead developer of the stadium project, and Joe Portelli, Vice President of Development at partner RPM Development Group.
For the City of Paterson, the groundbreaking marks the next chapter in the life of the local landmark, which will be fully realized when construction is completed in the fall of 2022. The $94-million mixed-use project is Paterson’s most ambitious large-scale development in many years. The initiative is highlighted by the complete redevelopment and modernization of the historic stadium, which will make the facility ADA compliant and improve the field, restrooms, lighting, scoreboard and seating areas. In addition to the 7,800-seat athletic facility, the project also includes ground-up development of:
- A 12,000-square-foot restaurant and event space that will pay homage to the professional and high school athletic exploits at Hinchliffe Stadium, as well as related racial issues
- A six-story, USGBC LEED Platinum-certified affordable senior housing building featuring 75 studio, one- and two-bedroom units
- A 5,200-square foot preschool; and
- A 314-space structured parking garage
«Growing up in Paterson, Hinchliffe Stadium was a part of the fabric of the city — not just for the history it represented, but as the home of so many sporting and cultural events,» said Baye Adofo-Wilson, CEO of BAW Development. «When the opportunity came to restore the ballpark after decades of neglect, we worked hard to craft a business plan that would make this project viable and help invigorate the neighborhood. With the assistance of both public and private funding partners, we were able to develop this comprehensive program for the ballpark and adjoining site, bringing sorely needed affordable housing, reviving the ballpark and creating a restaurant and other amenities that establish Hinchliffe as a destination for decades to come.»
Added Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh: «Hinchliffe Stadium is the largest catalytic investment in a generation. By taking one of our most dormant and underutilized sites with deep historic significance, we are laying the foundation for city-wide reinvestment and opportunity. We are witnessing a one-in-a-lifetime transformation and I’m proud of our public-private partners who have helped usher in this complex project.»
Constructed in 1932, Hinchliffe Stadium was once home to the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans in an era when many of baseball’s most talented players were barred from the sport’s biggest stage. Over the decades, the ballpark hosted a wide range of athletic and cultural events, including high school sports as well as motorcar racing, boxing tournaments and concerts. The ballpark is most often associated with Paterson native Larry Doby, who played high school sports at Hinchliffe in the 1930s, and subsequently played in the park while in the Negro Leagues. Doby broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947, and starred in the league for more than a decade, ultimately gaining enshrinement to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
After decades of use, the ballpark fell into disrepair in the late 1990s, and has been largely neglected for the last two decades, opening the door for the redevelopment initiative being led by BAW Development and RPM Development Group.
«The Hinchliffe Stadium redevelopment will have a significant impact in Paterson and provide an economic boost for New Jersey as we begin our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to paying homage to the achievements of Black baseball legends, this project will create jobs, provide much-needed affordable housing for seniors, and bring valuable community assets to Paterson,» said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. «This groundbreaking honors this historic landmark and reminds us all that New Jersey values diversity and is committed to supporting and celebrating the greatness of people from all backgrounds. The NJEDA team and I look forward to working with Mayor Sayegh to see this through to completion.»
The ballpark was initially built with public funding during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, and has been owned by Paterson Public Schools since the 1960s. BAW Development secured a majority stake in the ballpark in 2021. Construction for the mixed-use development is being funded, in part, through local, state and national funding via historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, new markets tax credits and a bond issued by the Passaic County Improvement Authority backed by the sale of New Jersey Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) credits.
The historic stadium was designed with an elegant architectural style that includes an Art Deco exterior and a classical, amphitheater-style horseshoe-shaped interior that can serve as a field for baseball, football, soccer, track and lacrosse as well as concerts and other cultural events. When construction is completed, it will become John F. Kennedy High School’s home field for several sports, and will also serve the broader community for concerts, festivals, sports camps and other semi-pro and professional sporting events.
«Our mission is to build great communities by developing high-quality affordable housing that will allow residents to thrive. This project demonstrates how government and business entities can work together to achieve this goal,» said Joe Portelli of RPM Development. «For years, the neighborhood surrounding Hinchliffe — much like the ballpark itself — has been underutilized and in sore need of additional investment and development to help reach its full potential. We’re thankful to all our public and private partners, and we look forward to breathing new life into the neighborhood through this visionary mixed-use development.»
About BAW Development
BAW Development, LLC is a real estate development and consulting company that focuses on arts and cultural projects, historic preservation, sustainability and affordable housing developments in Black & Brown communities. Founded by Baye Adofo-Wilson, Esq., AICP, BAW Development’s creative approach is informed by ideas of community, equity and history.
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SOURCE BAW Development