Developers of the proposed Magic Sports complex in Vineland say they intend to break ground for the $350 million project this fall.
But whether that happens depends on how the city handles the plans for the project.
The project, planned for Main Road near the intersection of Route 55, won needed variance approvals from the Zoning Board in December. The board voted to allow parts of the project involving the domed arena, hotel and water park to exceed the 35-foot height limitation imposed in that area under the city’s zoning laws.
The board also allowed the project to spill over into a section of the property zoned for residential construction. Zoning Board Chairwoman Elaine Greenberg opposed that variance, contending the land’s residential designation should not be changed.
The next step for Magic Sports is to seek site plan approval from the city’s Planning Board.
Magic Sports spokeswoman Teddie O’Keefe said the company expects to give the city those plans in April or May, but more likely in May.
“It’s moving along as planned,” O’Keefe said. “The variances were approved. They’re making the adjustments they need.”
Part of those adjustments involve a decision by Magic Sports to scale down part of the project. The developers told the Zoning Board in December that the domed arena would be reduced from a 10,000-seat facility with a 160-foot-tall dome to a 5,000-seat facility with a 65-foot dome.
O’Keefe said it is likely that the site plan may need changes after an initial review by the city’s planning staff. Magic Sports would have to make some additional changes to adhere to those suggestions by the planning staff, she said.
All of that will determine when the Planning Board can finally take action on the Magic Sports site plan, she said.
City planning officials could not be reached for comment.
The Magic Sports complex would be built on about 290 acres of land. Along with the domed arena, water park and hotel, the facility would have numerous athletic fields, bunk houses for young athletes, a conference center, fitness facility and three restaurants.
Developers told city officials and residents when they officially proposed the project in October that their project would create about 1,000 jobs when complete.
They also predicted that the complex would have an annual $250 million financial impact on the city and surrounding region. They plan to conduct an updated study on that part of the project.
The project is similar to one Magic Sports proposed several years ago for the Mays Landing section of Hamilton Township, Atlantic County. Magic Sports dropped the project, which won preliminary site plan approval from the Hamilton Township Planning Board.
Magic Sports officials said they believe the Vineland location has better access to major roads and highways than the Mays Landing proposal.
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