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Financing finalized for Hinchliffe Stadium renovations

The $94-million financing for the redevelopment of Hinchliffe Stadium, a former Negro Leagues ballpark in Paterson, NJ, has been finalized by BAW Development, paving the way for work to continue.

The restoration of the Art Deco WPA-funded facility is the core of the Hinchliffe Stadium Neighborhood Restoration Project, which includes additional neighborhood facilities.

One of four remaining Negro Leagues ballparks still standing, Hinchliffe Stadium opened in 1932 and hosted the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans among other events, including car racing and concerts from the likes of Abbott and Costello. The $94-million development plan will restore the former home of the Negro Leagues baseball and also feature a 315-space parking garage and a six-story, 75-unit senior housing. The efforts to restore Hinchliffe Stadium have been going on for years; at one point the Ripken organization took a swing at a renovation plan, but in the end it took a lot of persistence and effort by locals to make the project succeed.

Three other ballparks that were full-season homes to Negro Leagues baseball still standJ.P. Small Park (home of the Jacksonville Red Caps), Hamtramck Stadium (built for the Detroit Stars, currently in the midst of its own restoration project) and Rickwood Field, home of the Birmingham Black BaronsLeague Park, former home of the Cleveland Buckeyes, still partially stands.

All financing was managed by BAW’s partner on the redevelopment, RPM Development Group. The financing is a combination of private loans, tax credits and other vehicles, including a $60-million construction loan from Goldman Sachs and $10 million in New Market Tax Credit and Federal Historic Tax Credit equity from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, U.S. Bank’s tax equity and community development subsidiary.

The financing also includes $21 million of New Market Tax Credit allocation from four Community Development Entities (CDE): Community Loan Fund of New Jersey, Consortium America, RBC Community Development and USBCDE. The Passaic County Improvement Authority also issued a bond in support of the project, purchased by Goldman Sachs through its construction loan, which serves as a bridge loan for the New Jersey Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) credits.

Renovation work began in April.

“When it comes to a project of this nature, there’s no question that it takes a strong team to put all the pieces in place, and we are extremely thankful for the diverse group of financial partners that came together to fund the reimagination of this historic site,” said Baye Adofo-Wilson, Founder of BAW Development. “Given the challenges of the last year, pushing this long-awaited infrastructure project forward required a highly complex, creative financing structure from all parties. The successful closings are a testament to our partners’ belief in the vision for the future of not only Hinchliffe Stadium, but the broader impact it will have for the entire city of Paterson.”

The initiative is highlighted by the complete refurbishment 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
  • A 314-space structured parking garage

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.

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