Hartz Mountain Industries has been reinventing Harmon Meadow retail area on Route 3, adding two restaurant choices this year and planning two hotels within the next two years.
The company’s office building at 450 Harmon Meadow Blvd. was torn down this year. In the place of an outdated building came a hamburger restaurant last month and then a chicken wing eatery this month.
Hartz had suggested that the National Basketball Association, formerly housed at the 450 address and one other site, consolidate their offices into 100 Plaza Drive, according to Gus Milano, Hartz managing director. That left 450 vacant.
“It’s better for Harmon Meadows, and it’s better complimentary use,” he said of the two opening restaurants.
Patrons will likely visit those restaurants in conjunction with the 16-screen Kerasotes multiplex theater nearby. The theater has been at that location for three years.
On Nov. 18, a ribbon cutting was held to officially welcome a Red Robin restaurant to the complex. The casual dining chain is noted for its two dozen unique taste combinations on its high-quality hamburgers. Only 10 Red Robins exist in all of New Jersey, but the company has already opened four new ones here this year.
On Dec. 16, Buffalo Wild Wings, a favorite of football fans, will join Red Robin. Both arrive just in time for the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in nearby East Rutherford.
The company is also planning to open a 170-room hotel in the area, but did not give many details. They estimated it will open within 18 to 24 months.
“It’s better for Harmon Meadows, and it’s a better complimentary use.” – Gus Milano
The developers also demolished an eight-screen movie theater two to three years ago and replaced it with an LA Fitness.
These moves are part of the transformation of the Harmon Meadow mixed-used development that began more than 10 years ago. The recently demolished 450 Harmon Meadow Blvd. office building was situated on 5.3 acres. It made room for the 6,000-square-foot Red Robin and the 7,000-square-foot Buffalo Wild Wings.
Harmon Meadow’s transformation began with the opening of Walmart & Sam’s Club, and continued when Hartz redeveloped the Mall at Mill Creek, repositioning the mall and surrounding area by signing leases with Toys R Us, Babies R Us, TJ Maxx, Sports Authority, Kohl’s, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Marshalls, HomeGoods, AC Moore, PetSmart with a PetsHotel, and LA Fitness. It continued to evolve to its current shopping, dining and entertainment destination with the addition of restaurants Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Starbucks, Chili’s, Cosi’s, and Cups.
Need for change
“450 Harmon Meadow Blvd. was outdated as an office building, needing costly upgrades in a market that was calling for more travel and tourism options than office space,” Milano said. “Even before you factor in the 150,000 additional visitors expected this February for the Super Bowl, we already see close to four million visitors in Harmon Meadow a year. Red Robin and Buffalo Wild Wings add to a winning combination of dining, shopping and play that will encourage people to come back again and again.”
“We are thrilled with the economic development that Hartz Mountain continues to initiate in Secaucus,” said Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli. “We welcome Red Robin and Buffalo Wild Wings to the neighborhood and know they will be successful here.”
“The site was very appealing to us, because it’s a really good match for our demographic profile and other market characteristics,” said. Kevin Caulfield, Red Robin spokesman. “The end result was a restaurant in a great location, with complimentary retailers, including that theater.”
Gonnelli and Secaucus Town Council members John Bueckner, James Clancy, Robert Costantino, Gary Jeffas, and Susan Pirro attended the ribbon cutting, as did Andy Somers, Red Robin’s regional operations director, and Milano.
“Red Robin is one of two restaurants that Hartz will be welcoming to the site in Harmon Meadow in anticipation of the increased volume of visitors to the area for the upcoming Super Bowl,” said a Hartz spokesman, “in addition to the increase in business travelers here for events at the Meadowlands Expo Center, and leisure travelers looking for a more economical, but just as luxurious, place to dine and play while visiting the New York City area.”
Apartment building to come
“We’re developing other areas of Harmon Meadows too,” Milano said. “The last piece there was a 360,000-square-foot oriental carpet wholesale center. That building is being torn down as we speak.”
In its place, a 450 unit apartment complex will begin construction in late first quarter or early second quarter next year, subject to approvals.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.