Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson welcomed spectators starting in 1932 hosting an array of notable events throughout its history such as Negro Leagues baseball games while also serving as a primary venue for Paterson high school sports. The venue has been closed since 1997 but is now on the verge of a rebirth with a professional baseball tenant, just as the sport returns with spring training.
“We’re rounding third and heading home,” Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh told NJBIZ during a recent tour of the reconstruction site.
In 2021, the stadium, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, was resuscitated when officials broke ground on a redevelopment project anchored by the renovation of Hinchliffe. The project is being run by BAW Development, whose founder, Baye Adofo-Wilson, is a Paterson native who ran track at Hinchliffe as an adolescent. He said that the opportunity to come full-circle and work back in Paterson on this project has been a dream.
“I’m really excited about it,” Adofo-Wilson told NJBIZ, who admitted that the project has been challenging after the site sat empty and dilapidated for more than two decades. “There was a lot of damage and a lot of work to be done. But that work, for the most part, has been completed. And we plan on opening May 11.”
The project also includes a 12,000-square-foot restaurant, a six-story affordable senior housing complex, a preschool and a parking garage. The development is slated to open in phases. Because of inflation and supply chain issues, Adofo-Wilson estimates that the price tag has increased about 10%, with the project cost now at around $102 million instead of the initial $94 million estimate. He noted that the original budget was from 2020 in the early days of COVID before price increases led to interest rate hikes, supply chains unraveled and the war in Ukraine contributed to the economic turmoil.
“We dealt with all of it. But we continued to move forward,” said Adofo-Wilson.
Another feature of the venue will be a Negro Leagues museum overseen by Montclair State University. It is being funded by a $5 million donation from Chuck Muth, a former Coca-Cola executive, Paterson native, and Montclair State alum.