A lot formerly home to a noteworthy catering facility has been vacant for almost a full year, but construction of a new venue from an experienced hospitality group is slated to begin in the coming months.
Hudson County started the process of upgrading their former Casino in the Park property several years ago. The venue, located near the tennis courts inside Lincoln Park, opened as the Lincoln Lodge in 1929 before the Sweeney family took over managing it during the 1950s.
The old facility hosted a variety of noteworthy events over the years including fundraisers attended by a slew of politicians and the 50th wedding anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s parents. But the county marked the end of an era in 2017 when they let the Sweeney family’s lease expire.
The Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) has since demolished the building and tapped Frank and Jeanne Cretella to redevelop the property. The pair own Landmark Hospitality and operate several New Jersey event and dining venues including Liberty State Park’s Liberty House and Port Liberte’s Hudson House.
A proposal that emerged for the property in 2019 was recently finalized by the city’s planning board during their February 2 meeting. Drawn up by Flemington-based architect Jeffrey Fleisher, the new Casino in the Park will rise three stories, span 25,000 square feet, and include a 46-space parking lot for guests.
The three-story facility will be able to host a total of 740 patrons between its many sections, which will consist of two banquet halls, a dining area with an open kitchen restaurant, and a rooftop bar. The new building will occupy a smaller footprint than the original did and the structure itself will be utilizing an eclectic mix of laminated wood beams, steel, concrete, and masonry on its exterior.
In terms of public-minded uses, the new Casino in the Park is slated to feature a ground floor patio designed for parkgoers to purchase grab-and-go style grub. The HCIA will be issuing over $7 million in bonds to finance the development and Landmark will be responsible for overseeing the buildout of the facility, which they will operate under a 30-year lease agreement.
Landmark had planned to begin developing the property last year, but their intentions were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Barring any additional setbacks, the new Casino in the Park will break ground in the spring and wrap up construction sometime in mid-2022.