One of Hudson County’s longest-running institutions is set to meet the wrecking ball sometime after the snow melts, but a new 25,000-square-foot facility with a dining area, two banquet halls, and a rooftop bar will rise in its place.
The process to overhaul Casino in the Park started back in late 2017. The building, inside of Lincoln Park, is not historically protected but has nonetheless occupied the property for almost a century. According to the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, it originally opened as the Lincoln Lodge in 1929 before the Sweeney family took over managing it in the 1950s.
Hudson County owns the land the venue operates on and was looking to update the aging facility through a Request for Proposals from interested restaurateurs. The county let the Sweeney family’s lease expire at the end of 2017, which marked the end of an era for a venue that hosted countless political and social events over the years that included the 50th wedding anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s parents.
Since then, the Hudson County Improvement Authority has tapped Frank and Jeanne Cretella, owners of Landmark Hospitality, to redevelop the property. Landmark owns several New Jersey venues that include Liberty State Park’s Liberty House and Port Liberte’s Hudson House, which is in the process of launching this season. They are also behind an effort to bring a 120-room facility dubbed Morris Hotel to Jersey City’s Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood.
Last week, the Jersey Journal reported on a public meeting that was held inside Lincoln Park’s Gallo Center unveiling Landmark’s plans. The deal will see Hudson County issue a $6 million bond to cover the costs of tearing down the current building and constructing the new one, but Landmark is responsible for the remaining build-out costs beyond that.
Landmark, who will have a 30-year lease under the agreement, will oversee the development of a new 25,000-square-foot, three-story building to be constructed in the footprint of the existing Casino in the Park. The facility will include an open kitchen restaurant, two banquet halls, and a rooftop bar plus dining area.
Keeping a small piece of the site’s legacy, stone from the existing building will be incorporated into the new venue’s chimney and fireplaces. 80 new parking spaces will be added under the plan and the restaurant and rooftop bar components intend to be open six days a week for lunch and dinner.
There’s no word yet on what the venue will be called, but demolition at the property could commence as soon as February or March. Landmark says they hope to open the venue during the first half of 2021.