$500M mega sports complex with inflatable dome, hotels could open in 2020

By Steve Strunsky | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Construction is on at the vast Adventure Crossing mixed-use complex next to Great Adventure in Jackson, where the developer says a 120,000-square-foot sports dome and two hotels are on track for completion in 2020. Potential future additions to the complex include an outdoor stadium for cricket and a brain research center inspired by his late wife.

Cardinale Enterprises founder Vito Cardinale said work on the dome began about three months ago, after a June ground breaking on water and sewer lines that will serve the development.

When the entire complex, including additional phases, is completed in an estimated 10 years time at a projected cost of $500 million, Cardinale said Adventure Crossing will cover 300 acres.

Cardinale said he had acquired additional property since last summer that doubled the size of the site, which is located along Route 537 in a northern corner of Ocean County.

In the more immediate future, Cardinale said work on the first phase will be completed by “the end of 2020,” including the reinforced inflatable dome, which will measure 300 feet wide by 400 feet long and 89 feet tall, as well as an extended-stay 140-room Hilton Garden hotel and a 134-room Spring Hill Suites by Marriot hotel.

Cardinale said Adventure Crossing would afford athletes from New Jersey a place to compete in tournaments without having to leave the state, while also providing sorely-needed overnight accommodations for guests at Great Adventure. He said the first phase would include a 10,000-square-foot banquet hall for conferences, awards ceremonies and other uses.

He said he’s been in talks with people affiliated with the National Football League and National Basketball Associationabout operating sports camps inside the sports dome, which will be available year-round.

Cardinale still needs approval for the additional uses he envisions for coming phases of the Adventure Crossing site, which include a 100,000-square foot building for gymnastics and other athletic competitions, four to six hockey rinks, a retail complex selling sports-related merchandise, and a truncated driving range where golfers will hit into nets.

The additional uses will generate revenue for a brain research center focusing on multiple sclerosis, which Cardinale was inspired to develop by his late wife, Linda, who died in 2013 after suffering from the degenerative disease.

“That will fund the research,” said Cardinale, who led development of the Linda E. Cardinale Multiple Sclerosis Center at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold. “That’s what this is all about.”

Cardinale, a high school and college baseball player, looked forward to developing the outdoor stadium as a first-class venue for his old sport’s English inspiration. Cricket is played on an amateur and club basis in the United States, and Cardinale said he hoped to draw interest from Central New Jersey’s large South Asian community, among others.

“I want to bring cricket to the this country,” he said.

The New Jersey Sierra Club has expressed concern about the loss of habitat in the environmentally-sensitive Pinelands region that would result form development of Adventure Crossing. Cardinale, who described himself as an outdoorsman, said he was aware of the concern, and he assured environmentalists that 150 acres of the site will be preserved as open space.

“We kept it half green,” Cardinale said.

// nj.com


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