JACKSON – In April, members of the township council, Municipal Utilities Authority and its Economic Development Committee joined the Chamber of Commerce to discuss future development of Jackson. Their goal for over a decade has been to see the township become a weekend destination point for fun and recreation.
This month, Mayor Michael Reina was excited to announce that “Jackson’s future is here” with the news that a proposed hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, to be located on 567 Monmouth Road, has been approved by township authorities and is moving forward.
“We want those who come here to visit the park (Six Flags Great Adventure) to stay here in Jackson and not stay outside of the township,” Council President Kenneth Bressi said during that Chamber of Commerce gathering. Now the reality of that hope has grown.
Reina confirmed that the five story hotel project will include 134 rooms and a full service restaurant. Construction is expected to start in September with a target date for completion in March 2020.
The 10,000-square-foot hotel property will be located adjacent to Six Flags Great Adventure and will also offer a 24-hour business center and state of the art fitness center.
“The reality has come, Jackson’s future is here,” Reina said in an interview with The Jackson Times. “In 2011 I put together a conference with members of the State Department, the lieutenant governor, real estate agencies, Six Flags and others to see about what we could do to develop our 537/1-95 corridor. We wanted to stay away from the downtown and schools or to disrupt our existing infrastructure. This was a perfect area to develop.”
“We’ve been planning and nurturing this since 2011 and during that time up to today we’ve spoken to dozens of investors. Our administrator (Helene Schlegel) and I gave ourselves a high five when we heard the news of its approval,” Reina said.
Cardinale Enterprises of Jackson is the developer for the project and is also associated with the recently approved sports complex project. Reina noted that the sports complex which would also be based within the 1-195 corridor would feature a shopping complex and would help “get kids involved in sports and off the streets. We’ll have a hotel now with suites for overnight stays and have major sporting tournaments and events.”
Reina added that while the sports complex will serve to promote the township it was not forgetting the vital role of the area’s largest amusement park. “We let Six Flags know that we appreciate them as a partner and as a good neighbor.”
The news marks the third in a series of advancements for the township announced this year. Earlier this year an arrangement between the MUA and the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park involving a 16” water main hookup on Route 537 was approved. The $21 million project has begun construction and should be complete within 18 months.
“When the planning board approved it (the hotel) it was my proudest moment as mayor and it will help provide new income to the county and township with no burden on our taxes or schools,” Reina said.
Reina said that while the township cleared the way for the project, any unforeseen obstacles would be addressed between the developer and the state or county. “The township won’t get involved in that. Any hurdles will be taken care of by them.”
Reina said that the township council is equally pleased with the progress of the township’s initiatives. “The fact that Hilton is associated with this shows how positive this is. For them to come into Jackson speaks volumes.”