The school board amended an agreement this week extending the lease for the historic Hinchliffe Stadium from 30 to 75 years.
Under the agreement, the lease begins in 2009 and runs for 75 years, said the district’s general counsel Khalifah Shabazz on Monday.
The school district owns Hinchliffe Stadium. It leases the stadium and some land to the city of Paterson and the developers working to renovate the stadium and build housing on a nearby vacant lot.
“The board has done its due diligence,” said school board president Kenneth Simmons. “I’m looking forward to the shovels going into the ground. And even more, I’m looking forward to the completion of the project.”
Developer Baye Adofo-Wilson and his partners are undertaking a $76 million, almost entirely made up of government funds, renovation project at the stadium. The 7,800-seat stadium restoration will cost $31.37 million. A six-story building with 75 apartments will cost $24.65 million. A four-story parking deck, 314 spaces, will cost $16.37 million. And a restaurant with exhibition space will cost $4.28 million, according to figures made public last year.
“The bank that’s purchasing the historic tax credits wants a longer-term lease which ultimately means there’s a longer time period for the stadium to be preserved. That’s why we had to go back to the board, because they’re the ones that own the property,” said economic development director Michael Powell explaining the need for the longer lease.
School board members voted 5-0 to approve the lease. Vincent Arrington, Corey Teague, Nakima Redmon, Manny Martinez, and Kenneth Simmons voted to amend the lease agreement.
Powell said the agreement does not have to be ratified by the City Council.
The lease agreement also contains a revenue sharing element. There were some questions whether revenue sharing extends to the restaurant that is being constructed at the stadium.
“That was never part of the initial language of the lease agreement and it is not at this point,” said Shabazz.
Adofo-Wilson had expected to break ground on the stadium renovation in mid-2020, but that didn’t happen. Officials said the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the project. Governor Phil Murphy extended the completion timeframe for the state tax credit funded project from July 2022 to December 31, 2023.
Powell said the developer still plans to finish the project in 2022.
“This is something that our children and our great grandchildren are going to be able to carry on. So, this is legacy building right here. That’s what we’re doing tonight. We’re going to be impacting generations to come in a positive way — for generations to come. So, this is big,” said Teague.
“This is a great day not only for the city of Paterson, but more so for the children. For far too long, they have not had an arena like this to be able to play in. And so, it’s really going to give them something to look forward to,” said superintendent Eileen Shafer after the board extended the lease agreement.
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