Rowan and Milestone to focus on soccer stadium
Rowan University announced today that its plan to construct a sports, retail, and housing complex on its West Campus in Harrison Township is being delayed until funding for the infrastructure for the
Plans for housing, retail and sports complex put on hold
Rowan University announced today that its plan to construct a sports, retail, and housing complex on its West Campus in Harrison Township is being delayed until funding for the infrastructure for the 280-acre site is secured. In the meantime, Rowan is continuing to negotiate with the Milestone Group for the construction of a soccer-specific stadium to house a future Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise.
"Rowan would have needed the state to bond as much as $100 million for roadway improvements, parking lots, and utilities infrastructure, a tenth of the estimated $1 billion project cost. We also asked the state for funding to allow us to accept 3,000 additional students," said Dr. Donald Farish, Rowan University's president. "Governor Corzine was supportive of the project, but given the budget situation in New Jersey, it was impossible for him to commit funds at this time. We feel, however, that we still may be able to negotiate with Milestone on the construction of a stadium that would meet Rowan and Major League Soccer's needs."
In March, Rowan entered into an agreement with MLS that gave the University 90 days to develop plans for a stadium that would serve as home for an MLS team beginning in 2009. The stadium would have been part of a proposed sports, retail and student housing complex Rowan had planned to build with the Milestone Group, a developer leading a consortium of investors.
The project would have enabled the University to free up space on the main campus in Glassboro for academic buildings, expand its program offerings and accept more students. It also would have provided facilities for South Jersey high school athletic competitions, playoffs and championships; served as a site for conventions and other events; and created jobs in the region.
While Corzine had applauded the project, Rowan administrators held off speaking with him in detail about what the effort would entail until after the state budget was adopted in July. The governor reiterated his support, but could not commit to the investment needed to move the project forward.
An economic impact study conducted by Dr. Robert Burchell, director of the Rutgers University Center for Urban Policy Research, calculated that the project would have benefited the region. The report states that during the three-year construction period the project would have created and/or supported 1,740 jobs annually ($89 million in wages) and produced $10.75 million in taxes annually. During the operations phase, the complex would have created and supported more than 1,700 jobs annually ($76 million in wages) and produced $9.2 million in taxes annually.
"Bringing Major League Soccer to South Jersey and planning for commercial and residential properties on our West Campus was an ambitious proposal and one we are glad we considered," Farish said. "Faced with our own budget cuts, Rowan and other New Jersey schools will need to continue to search for creative ways to offset rising expenses while providing a high-quality education for our students."
Negotiations will continue between Rowan and the Milestone Group to construct a stadium, but MLS has not set a new deadline for a final proposal.