(EAST RUTHERFORD) – Plans are being formulated to eventually expand the size and scope of the Meadowlands Sports Complex and give the Garden State an economic shot in the arm.

Right now the complex includes MetLife Stadium, the Meadowlands Racetrack and American Dream, but an analysis study was revealed this week that calls for a multi-use facility that will cater to conventions, events and youth and amateur sports. The viability study was discussed at the Meadowlands 2040 Foundation's annual Thought Leaders and mDest Conference on Tuesday.

According to Jim Kirkos, president and CEO of the Meadowlands Chamber and the Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureaus, the analysis study determined there's a shortage of convention center space in the North Jersey and New York City region.

To meet the region's need, Kirkos said the multi-use facility would include "300,000 square feet of exhibition space, 100,000 square feet of breakout meeting room space and 60,000 square feet of event space."

Kirkos said whenever there is a big event at MetLife Stadium, like the Super Bowl or WrestleMania, there is no existing facility at the Meadowlands Sports Complex to handle the fan experience.

“Every time we get one of those big events, the weeklong fan experience and all the dollars that come with that go to Brooklyn, go to Broadway, go to some other place and not New Jersey,” Kirkos said.

He said if there was a convention center and expanded hotel space in the Meadowlands, those looking for things to do could head to the racetrack, American Dream or a youth or amateur sporting event.

Kirkos stressed the facility being envisioned would be very complimentary to all of the existing assets.

“Anything that can help all of those businesses be more successful and or attract other events to the Sports Complex and New Jersey – then we’re doing our job,” he said.

He said a follow-up report will focus on the economic impact this kind of facility could have on the entire Garden State, and different ways the project can be financed. He's hoping the support of state officials will help to move the project forward.

“The Sports Complex can be that economic engine the way it was in the 70s. It can be that way for the next 20 to 25 years if we leverage the assets and we complement the assets.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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