The owner of the Center City Mall has proposed building a 150-room hotel in downtown Paterson. A cascading pyramid like structure will sprout from the existing Center City Mall building on Main Street to provide lodging to thousands of visitors to the Silk City drawn by both the soon-to-be-built stadium and the Great Falls.
“We can’t have tournaments and bring in overseas sporting events without a hotel,” said George Valiotis, president of development and acquisitions at Alma Realty. Idea for the hotel was born about four weeks ago, he said. “We’re working on plans right now.”
The three-story hotel will be built on top of the existing Center City Mall, said John Bleeker, president of Bleeker Architectural Group. He said the hotel will be connected to the 10,000-seat soccer stadium proposed to be built on the site of a current parking lot owned by the Paterson Parking Authority.
Bleeker said the hotel will cost $22-25 million. That includes refurbishing part of the mall for meeting rooms and a conference center, he said. He is developing needed architectural plans to submit to the Paterson Planning Board. He said the hotel project will be presented to the board for approval in the fall.
The proposal from a developer with a track record for finishing big projects has stoked excitement in the city.
“A city of our size should have a hotel,” said mayor Andre Sayegh. “It will be a revenue and new jobs generator.”
Bleeker described it as a four to five-star hotel. “We’re going to have sky boxes, rooms that could be leased out for events and parties, that will overlook the stadium,” he said. Rooms will have view of games at the stadium, the Paterson skyline, and Garret Mountain.
“It’s not your run-of-the-mill hotel,” said Sayegh.
“I think the plans are great. It’s a phenomenal design,” said councilman Michael Jackson, who studied architectural design in college. “My opinion is it’s in the best location — it’s in the center of town.”
Jackson said the stadium will attract people from all over the country and the world to the city. He hopes Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tournaments are hosted at the stadium. Soccer games will bring in visitors from all over South America, he said.
“I love the fact that we’ve become a center piece for many of these Latin American countries that gravitate towards soccer,” he said.
Not having a hotel has made it difficult to turn the city into a regional tourism hub, said officials.
“We had a couple of dignitaries that came to Paterson from Dominican Republic. They had to stay outside of city,” said councilman Luis Velez. The city has a small value hotel called Rodeway Inn on Broadway.
A $130 million hotel and conference center by St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center was proposed few years ago. That project collapsed in 2016, when the hospital pulled out of the deal.
Velez said the proposed hotel and the stadium could finally revitalize the downtown.
The hotel and the soccer arena will start construction at the same time, said Valiotis. The hotel will be finished in one and half to two years. The stadium will take longer to build, he said.
The city will use a portion of its $130 million state tax credits to fund the arena. The hotel won’t seek any tax credits.
“There’s no tax credits for this,” said Valiotis referring to the new hotel project.
The soccer arena, a food hall, and the hotel are designed to revive the struggling Center City Mall which opened amidst the Great Recession.
“The hotel and the soccer stadium are critical right now to make the project work,” said Valiotis.
The mall was the biggest investment in the city in decades. New York City-based Alma Realty has invested over $400 million in Paterson in the past 15 years, said Valiotis.
The firm owns roughly 4 million square feet of space in the city. The Center City expansion will add another 200,000 square feet.