From left: Jon F. Hanson, New Jersey Hall of Fame chairman; Steve Edwards, the organization’s president; and former Yankees and Mets pitcher Al Leiter, a Hall of Fame member, were on hand to break ground on the organization’s permanent home at the American Dream in East Rutherford. — Photo by Gary Gellman/Courtesy: New Jersey Hall of Fame
By Joshua Burd
The New Jersey Hall of Fame has broken ground on its permanent home at the sprawling American Dream complex in East Rutherford, hosting stakeholders and dignitaries on Wednesday for a ceremonial kickoff to the project.
The organization, which recently marked its 10th anniversary, said Wednesday that its new 16,000-square-foot museum would open by summer 2020. The nonprofit to date has used an 850-square-foot mobile museum as its home, but announced earlier this month that it will take up permanent residence within the massive retail and entertainment complex.
American Dream is set to open next spring. The leadership of the Hall of Fame joined state officials, executives from developer Triple Five and other dignitaries on Wednesday for the ceremonial groundbreaking.
“The New Jersey Hall of Fame has an exciting vision,” said Jon F. Hanson, the organization’s chairman and founder of The Hampshire Cos. in Morristown, “and ultimately this museum will be a very proud attraction for New Jerseyans of all ages and families around the world that will be able to experience it in all its greatness.”
The new Hall of Fame will be located on the lower level of the American Dream, featuring attractions such as a virtual reality theater and hologram theater. The facility is expected to cost $10 million, of which the Hall of Fame has raised $5.775 million, according to a news release. The organization has entered into a long-term lease with Triple Five.
“This is a great day for all New Jerseyans,” said Steve Edwards, the Hall of Fame’s president. “The New Jersey Hall of Fame at American Dream will be an exciting museum where we can take great pride in who we are as a people, and have a learning center that will inspire the next generation of Jersey leaders.”
The exhibit will join other attractions at American Dream such as a Legoland Discovery Center and Sealife Aquarium, a DreamWorks Water Park, a Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, Cirque de Soleil and KidZania.