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Rowan Plans “Field House” 5,000+ Seat Regional Sports & Entertainment Venue in Mantua Twp

Rowan Plans “Field House” 5,000+ Seat Regional Sports & Entertainment Venue in Mantua Twp
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Rowan University is currently looking for a partner developer, to construct and maintain a Sports & Entertainment Field House Venue at their West Campus property along Route 55.

The plan is to develop a “Field House” building seating 5,000-7,000 persons which would become home to the Rowan Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs, as well as other sports programs, organizations and entertainment offerings.

While the basketball uses are a top priority, Rowan would then make the facility available to support other functions such as concerts, graduations, sports tournaments and NCAA Basketball functions.

… to use the Field House facility for their Men’s and Women’s Basketball program as well as other sport programs and organizations.

The vision for this facility would be to support other stand-alone anchor tenants such as a “state of the art” Sports Training Facility and a Sports Medical Center. Both tenants would add value to the overall complex and reinforce a commitment to supporting the Field House functions.

Rowan University Field House RFQ
42Freeway rough-draft depiction of the planned Rowan Field House property for Mantua twp. (Map Image: Google)

At 7,000 seats the venue would be comparable in size to the indoor component of Camden’s waterfront Freedom Mortgage Pavilion. The Rowan Field House if developed would have more traditional arena style seating of course.

Rowan currently is soliciting Request-For-Qualifications (RFQ) to identify interest from developers in a pre-project development stage. The goal is to find a developer who will design, construct, maintain and operate the facility with Rowan as a lead lease tenant.

So I imagine there is “still a ways to go” before any dirt is turned on this project or even before it appears at a town planning meeting.

Also, on the other side of Rt 55 there is an unrelated large sports and entertainment project being considered for Harrison Twp. I have been remis in covering that project but will have an article online later this week.

I summarize the plans here in this article, but if you are a developer interested in this project please reach check the PDF and contact information here (PDF)

Route 322 Corridor But Mantua Twp

The 24 acre property is part of Rowan’s extended 900+ acres they own or control along Rt 322, which most assume is Glassboro or possibly Harrison Township.

For a big portion of the Rowan properties North of 322 (and closest to Rt 55) there is a unique township property line which puts the planned Field House in Mantua. The mostly rectangular Mantua town border has a portion that juts out… reminiscent of a large cooking pot with a handle!

So from the perspective of Rt 322 the new Inspira Hospital is across the street from the large Rowan property…

Location of the planned Rowan Field House project in Mantua Twp (Map Image: Google)

But with the proposed Field House development site sitting in the far back North corner of the Rowan property, it appears the closest existing business is J.G. Cook’s Carolina Blue restaurant and bar!

From the busy intersection at Carolina Blue, it’s just a short 1/4 mile to the property where the Field House is proposed.

Head south on Lambs Road for a minute or two and just before the overpass which goes over Rt 55, there is a small road to the left called Rear Drive. Another 30 seconds on that curved road and you are at the Field House property.

Currently Google maps shows the targeted property as undeveloped farmland. I’ll be stopping in this week to check out the site further.

Rowan Field House: Innovative Development Process

Rowan has a couple of innovative ideas for the development process of the Field House Facility.

So typically one would think a procurement request would be targeted at getting the best price for a known project. “I need my home driveway repaved and I called three companies to get their best price”

But for the Field House, the goal at this time is to find a development partner.

The purpose of this Request For Qualifications (“RFQ”) is to solicit and select an experienced, responsible and professional entity (respondent) with proven capabilities in developing, operating, building, maintaining and managing a Regional Sports and Entertainment Field House Arena (the “Project”).

Rowan University Field House RFQ

So while Rowan and it’s athletic programs are the key driver for the project… they do not want to fully design, construct and maintain the property.

Instead, Rowan will be a locked in core tenant of the building, who also has significant idea contributions to the design of the facility.

it is the intent of The University to enter into a long-term service agreement to use the Field House facility for their Men’s and Women’s Basketball program as well as other sport programs and organizations.

Rowan University Field House RFQ

The RFQ goes on to describe that it would be a long-term ground lease of approximately 50 years, at which point the property would be turned over to Rowan.

The reality though is… this really is how many commercial projects get developed today. The concept/process is actually on my list to do a short explainer video about it. But I’ll summarize here…

As an example, that new Wawa building in your town is probably not owned by Wawa.

They have agreements with several developers to build the Wawas under the convenience store’s specifications.

Investors then take over ownership of the land and building, with Wawa as a locked in lease tenant.

Some of the advantages are; Wawa doesn’t have to put out $10 million upfront for a new store, and the investor property owners get a guaranteed lease payment and profit from Wawa.

So while Wawa already has a stable of developers for these types of development projects (considering how many stores they develop), Rowan doesn’t have a rolodex of developers for Sports Arenas.

So that is where the RFQ comes into play. “Who is interested in partnering with us on this project” is really what it’s about

The Rowan active Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Field House project which was just released on September 19th.

There is a timeline for developer project questions and answers, with a final submission date of October 27th.

As mentioned earlier, if you are interested in participating in this RFQ you can access it here (PDF)