Writer: Joey Garrand
2 min read June 2022— World Cup matches aren’t the only exciting thing to look forward to in the Meadowlands Region.
New York City and New Jersey recently won their joint bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. One study estimates host cities to benefit $160 to $620 million in incremental economic activity. While this is certainly an exciting step for the Meadowlands Region, there is more on the horizon.
Today, the Meadowlands Sports Complex contains: the MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and New York Jets; the Meadowlands Racetrack, a famous harness racing circuit; the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, the Giants’ practice facility; and the American Dream retail and entertainment complex, the second largest mall in America.
Jim Kirkos, president and CEO of Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, shared with Invest: the history behind the Meadowlands Sports Complex. “When the original horse racetrack was built in the ‘70s, it was so popular that it became what’s called the Big M, recognized anywhere in the world. The money from the Big M built the original Giants Stadium and then eventually the arena. That sports complex powered this economy for 30 years before it went into decline. However, now we’re in a resurgence with the new MetLife Stadium, the new Meadowlands racetrack, and the American Dream.”
One of the primary goals of the Meadowlands 2040 Foundation, Inc., an economic development focused “think tank” style affiliate of the Meadowlands Chamber, is to establish a viable new multi-purposed convention center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in synergy with the sports venues and American Dream.
“If we build a convention center, that nucleus could be the thing that powers the region for the next 25 years. I’ll be very bullish if we can convince our policymakers to get behind this project,” said Kirkos. The multi-purposed facility could generate 250+ event days per year, which would result in significant economic impact to the local region. In his interview with Invest:, Kirkos mentioned the process was underway of choosing a company to do a study to potentially build the convention center.
The region held World Cup matches back in 1994 in the old Giants Stadium and has hosted other world-renowned events such as Wrestlemania and the Super Bowl. “Now, it’s just a matter of leveraging our assets and continuing to grow our presence as a tourism destination,” said Kirkos, with the FIFA World Cup matches being a great stepping stone.
“The FIFA World Cup will shine a bright spotlight on the Meadowlands Region for an international audience. We look forward to offering superb experiences to fans from around the globe, including dynamic downtowns, plentiful shopping and dining hotspots,” said Vincent Prieto, president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority in a statement.
Not only has the Meadowlands been front and center when it comes to entertainment, but other sectors are also experiencing a great deal of activity. “As for doubling down, the industrial market has been on fire over the past two years and investors are paying top dollar for well-located industrial properties, especially in the Meadowlands and the ports,” said Michael Bergman, president and CEO of the Bergman Real Estate Group with Invest:.
Ryan Sanzari, president of Alfred Sanzari Enterprises, also highlighted the Meadowlands as a hotbed of activity with Invest:. “The unprecedented growth of e-commerce and logistics companies, as well as the life sciences and medical industries has led to explosive growth in the demand for industrial warehouse assets. Demand in this market has continued to skyrocket and the supply has not been able to keep up with the demand,” said Sanzari. “Looking into the future, New Jersey’s accessibility and the proximity to New York City and Philadelphia markets will only lead to continued extremely high rents across not just our portfolio but also the entire market and submarket, specifically the Meadowlands.”