100,000-Seat Formula 1 Track Pitched Near Liberty State Park

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New Jersey Turnpike Extension Liberty State Park Aerial
Aerial view of the area proposed for development east of I-78 and in and around Liberty State Park. Photo via Google Maps.

A proposal to build a new marina and another plan to expand Liberty National Golf Course on public land have both been shot down in recent months, but a new group is hoping they have the right stuff to win approval for another development that would be near (and partially in) Liberty State Park.

The organization behind the endeavor is called Liberty Rising, not to be confused with Paul Fireman’s failed casino project that was also pitched for just outside Liberty State Park. The new group owns several acres of land just off the I-78 New Jersey Turnpike extension’s toll booths and wishes to construct a new sports complex that would include a 100,000-seat Formula 1 racetrack.


Liberty Rising Formula 1 Racetrack Rendering
Rendering of the proposed racetrack. Image via NJ.com.

In addition to the large racing facility, Liberty Rising has also pitched plans for a separate cricket stadium. Thomas Considine, a spokesman for the group, told the Jersey Journal that there would be 18 to 24 racing days a year at the stadium, and the rest of the time it would be open to the public as a recreational facility.

As part of the deal, Liberty Rising would need to use 25 acres of Liberty State Park in a section that is currently restricted to the public. The property they would need is part of an upcoming 240-acre restoration project in the park’s interior that will clean up and reclaim the land into more greenspace. The group has dangled private funding for that project as an incentive, in addition to new playgrounds city-wide and a new rail stop inside the park.


The scale of the plan is unquestionably huge; the current biggest sports venue in the New York City region is East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium at 82,500 seats, so Liberty Rising’s project would be the largest stadium in the area by quite a bit if built. Considine has stated the group believes traffic would be minimal because of a plan to add a rail stop, but where it would be located and what it would connect to hasn’t been disclosed.

Friends of Liberty State Park doesn’t like the idea. “The racing and concert stadium traffic would have an inevitable, devastatingly negative impact on weekend public access to LSP, on tourists heading to the LSP ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, on Jersey City neighborhoods, on Liberty Science Center visitors and on Turnpike extension traffic,” says president Sam Pesin.

Liberty State Park Restoration
Liberty State Park restoration plan. Map via Friends of Liberty State Park.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has stated he will meet with Liberty Rising soon, but he sounds lukewarm. He told ROI-NJ that Jersey City “can’t handle the traffic” and claimed that “it would change the entire park.” Regardless of local opinion, the Department of Environmental Protection is the one who would need to approve or reject the project.

Formula 1, the highest league of single-seater auto racing, has tried to make inroads into Hudson County before. A race called Grand Prix of America had agreed to run on a 3.2 mile stretch of Weehawken and West New York back in 2011, but the plans fell through despite chatter last year about their revival.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Why can’t a park just be a park? Does Formula 1 want a stadium in Central Park or the Grand Canyon? Also if racing at Formula 1 stadium is anything like the racing in Daytona Beach the noise pollution is deafening for miles. Those race cars aren’t known for their mufflers.

  2. Jersey Digs- As president of The Friends of LSP, I’m very disappointed in your inaccurate puff piece on the mega-stadium with 100,000 seats which the billionaire wants in and next to Liberty State Park does a disservice to LSP and all who care about the future of this local, state and national treasure.
    One major mistake Chris Fry, is your writing that JC Mayor Steve Fulop is “lukewarm” about the stadium proposal. The Mayor’s quotes in the ROI nj com makes it super clear that he is totally, 100%, unequivocally strongly against this ruinous preposterous proposal. The ROI story with the Mayor’s quotes is at http://www.roi-nj.com/…/formula-one-race-at-liberty…/ Mayor Fulop’s Facebook post this morning again emphasizes his strong opposition to this crazy and destructive plan. https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=steven%20fulop

    Another mistake is that you allowed the Formula One spokesman, Considine, to repeat his blatant lie that Formula One is needed for the 235 nature restoration area funding without your challenging his lie because you didn’t do your homework. The Jersey Journal reported in January that the Interior nature restoration is fully funded (because Gov. Christie at the end of his term knew that he had to spend many millions of dollars on urban nature restoration and he didn’t want Gov. Murphy to get the credit). That Jersey Journal story is at https://www.nj.com/…/nj_announces_massive_plan_to… I’m sure also that when Formula One met in May with the DEP, that the DEP officials informed them that the Interior is fully funded and that the Army Corps is starting the detailed engineering plans.

    Also, it’s common sense that noise and vibrations from car racing and concerts would negatively imopact the birds and other wildlife in the 235 acre nature restoration area which will be one of the largest nature restorations in our nation and an international model.

    Another mistake is that you wrote, “Regardless of local opinion, the DEP is the one who would need to approve or reject the proposal.” Though most regular users of LSP are from JC, there has always been regional and statewide opposition to park privatization, and it’s just stating the obvious that LSP is a state park and that the DEP has the final word. In every major battle for LSP, in addition to the overwhelming opposition from Jersey City and County park supporters, there have been regional and statewide organization in Coalitions with every major environmental group representing tens of thousands, and statewide individuals opposing privatization plans.Also, in addition to Mayor Fulop, and Asm Raj Mukherji, I would expect that every Hudson County state legislator will oppose this plan and that combination of Hudson County elected officials and intense public opposition was enough to stop Gov. Christie from going ahead with his plans between 2014 and 2016 and Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, who killed the Suntex Marinas and Liberty National Golf Course plans, won’t go against Jersey City and Hudson County elected officials, vast majority opposition, and dozens of regional and statewide groups and our elected officials allies elsewhere in the state such as Senator Weinberg. So when Formula One submits its proposal, a new grassroots battle will be launched and mobilized and whether it’s a short or long battle, Governor Murphy is going to kill this destruction of Liberty State Park’s use, access, spirit and purpose.

    Though you used the traffic quote from me, a major aspect of this story is that this billionaire’s proposal arrogantly and greedily ignores the 4 decades of overwhelming opposition to LSP privatization. This is PUBLIC LAND and the all those who have tried to privatize parts of LSP since it opened haven’t cared. They just want to exploit LSP for their profits and this war on LSP will be stopped by Mayor Fulop, the rest of Hudson County’s elected officials, and vast majority outraged opposition at any public hearing, by emails, phone calls, etc.

    Two other claims of the Formula One lobbyist that you didn’t explore is that there would be 18 to 24 racing days. That obviously would mean nearly every weekend between May 1 and Labor Day, the peak season at Liberty State Park. Also, I’ve heard that they admitted that there would be many concerts on weekends when there aren’t races, as they’re not going to build a 100,000 seat stadium and let it be empty for most weekend days when the racing isn’t happening.

    The other pie in the sky claim of Formula One regards a rail station inside the park. There would be no place inside Liberty State Park for a rail station and that will never happen. The tracks would take away open space, whether it’s inside the 25 acres or anywhere else in the park and they are nuts (or feel the public is gullible if they think the state has the money to build a rail stop in addition to the lLberty State Park light rail station. Also, it is common sense that car racing fanatics are going to drive to the park and not take public transportation and there obviously would be parking lots and most people driving to the 100,000 seat stadium.

  3. Is there a high demand for Formula 1 car racing in NJ? I haven’t heard ANYONE say anything about wanting car racing in JC. This isn’t Daytona…

    Just a terrible proposition that will hopefully get rejected ASAP.

    We really need a permanent solution to end any type of development in this park so that it’s not constantly under attack!

  4. Gotta agree with other commenters here. I oppose this plan. Keep LSP a park and wildlife preserve. What a wonderful resource to have this large bit of nature right in the heart of the urban part of NY Metro.

  5. Sam,

    There’s no need to attack the journalist here. This is a development website, not an environmental preserve website. In that context, Chris did an admirable job presenting both sides of the argument. Chris is not an expert in environmental protection, but an expert in journalism and producing relatively short articles highlighting development. Its unfair for him to provide that much context in putting forth this article.

    • Chris Fry wrote a puff piece for one of the most idiotic proposals this city has ever seen — he deserves to be criticized. How is it unfair for him to be criticized if he doesn’t get his facts straight? If he cannot provide the appropriate context, don’t write the story.

      • What exactly comes off as a puff piece? The proposal is completely non-sensical and will never be approved. Chris presented both sides of the argument in an unbiased manner and we stand by his work. We trust our readers can form their own opinion.

  6. Probably one of the most ridiculous schemes/scams for taking a public space for private use so far.

    Find out where the developers live and propose building a formula 1 racetrack/marina/golf course/shopping mall right next door.

    Seriously though, developers are becoming more brazen and outlandish with their plans to build on every available space- private or not- regardless of what’s best for the community. I doubt this will cease anytime soon and suspect their schemes will continue in an attempt to slip one through or wear residents down.

    Congratulations to Friends of LSP for being in the forefront of protecting Liberty State Park.

  7. I would totally oppose that kind of usage there… what on earth are these developers thinking? Formula One in a residential neighborhood? We can barely get decent buildings approved because of NIMBY attitudes, how the hell do they think formula One would ever be OK’d? Waste of money to even try to research this project more, they should just pack it in and go home!

  8. Why on earth would someone suggest a racetrack by LSP and think it would be approved. The park is supposed to be a relaxing area without the roar of engines buzzing by. JC once had venues for concerts like Roosevelt Stadium. Torn down even back then by developers. Sadly, I don’t recognize JC any longer.

  9. Taxpayers get nothing but trouble from these schemes and others like Zanadu, another waste.
    As for journalism, all reporting is analysis. Its what you choose to report and the maturity with which you handle it that makes a difference. Its just a bad idea that no doubt your development community wants to hear about. If they own some of that land by the highway they should clean up the litter first. Irresponsible landowners should be fined like they are in other states.

  10. Build that racetrack around the golf course and then hold events there concurrently, the President’s Cup and the Grand Prix of America…haha

    It’s the prestige of the location they are after…there isn’t anything like it anywhere else in the world.

  11. Do you understand the amount of revenue that track would bring to the city? The track in Texas has improved Austin’s economy by roughly $5 billion dollars since 2010. I’d say that’s fairly significant.

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