“Racing makes Heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty” so said, Peter Egan.
If you cast your mind back, you may recall the old Cherry Hill Racetrack? Towne Place at Garden State Park, the top-end residential and retail development in Cherry Hill last functioned as a horse-racetrack in 2001. One of the only reminders left of the old Garden State Park Racetrack is the original gate of entry built in 1942 between route 70 and Garden State Boulevard.
The rescinding of the PASPA laws by the US Supreme Court in May this year may revitalize the use of the premises for its original purpose. Why? Two words: Sports Betting online.
When Governor Phil Murphy signed the NJ online sports betting legislation into law a few short weeks ago, he potentially started a domino effect for former ailing sports facilities and the construction industry in the state.
The signing of the bill into law which permits “wagering at casinos and racetracks on certain professional and collegiate sports or athletic events” also states that a former racetrack is defined as a racetrack where a horse race meeting was conducted within the previous 15 years prior to legislation proposed in 2014 relating to the first efforts to repeal the sports betting ban. This makes Cherry Hill a viable option for re-development.
Former Senator Raymond Lesniak, one of the original lawmakers proposing the legalization of sports betting, confirmed recently that Cherry Hill was very definitely on his mind for rejuvenation on account of the lucrative economic activity that it could bring to the area if they were able to change the law.
Now this is the part which gets really intriguing – Jack Morris who developed Towne Place at Garden State Park is the primary shareholder of no other than Hard Rock Casino AC, which opened at the end of June 2018 with much pomp and ceremony; and which has been hailed as one of many casino investments to put Atlantic City back on the tourist map. Surely he would see the huge potential working with partner Joseph Marino of 21 Construction Corporation, and power-broker George Norcross for a new development?
While Morris and his associates remain uncommitted to inquiries made as to whether they intend investing in a further development at Cherry Hill, a spokesperson has vaguely indicated that if the considerable capital outlay could be secured – and this would require millions of dollars - there may be a possibility of development.
The likelihood of that happening imminently, however, seems unlikely.