Garden State Park’s Redevelopment Enters the Home Stretch with Plaza Grande
The bar and lounge in the Plaza Grande clubhouse. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise indicated
In its glory years, Garden State Park was the region’s finest horse racing track. Part of the “Golden Triangle” of New Jersey racetracks along with Monmouth Park and Atlantic City Race Course, the track hosted some of the biggest races in the area – and the country. Triple Crown winners Citation and Secretariat raced here, and the course’s signature stakes, the Jersey Derby, offered some of the biggest purses in horse racing. The track became the nucleus of a collection of hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and a shopping mall. Together they turned rural Delaware Township into suburban Cherry Hill, the commercial hub of South Jersey.
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All that is gone now, save for the shopping mall and hotel. Citation and Secretariat live on as street names in the last development to rise on the racetrack site, Plaza Grande at Garden State Park. This luxury active adult community is finally rising on the last parcel of undeveloped land on the former racetrack site.
TSV-TGA Garden State Park LLC is picking up where D.R. Horton left off sometime after 2007 with a 608-unit, 20-building apartment complex for residents 55 years of age and up. The 33-acre complex is the last part of a master plan originally conceived for the 330-acre racetrack site in 2002 by Berwyn, Pa.-based Realen Properties and track owner Turnberry Associates Inc. of Aventura, Fla., after Turnberry had closed and razed the racetrack the year before.
The Turnberry-Realen development proposal, which Cherry Hill’s then-mayor, Susan Bass Levin, praised as giving the sprawling suburb a real center, quickly foundered amid criticism of its various elements from neighboring businesses and residents. But eventually, just about every element in that proposal got built over the course of the next 15 years.
Horton managed to erect one building of the planned 20 on the Plaza Grande site. TSV-TGA, which bought the project from Horton in 2014, is now in the process of putting up the other 19. Company managing partner John Fasciano invited members of the media out to the development in November to show off progress to date, reminisce about times past and discuss things to come. You’ll find the details in the captions to the photos below.
Plaza Grande at Garden State Park
The clubhouse at Plaza Grande. The active adult community will have just about all the elements of a country club save the golf course and membership dues.
The clubhouse's main floor includes a living room with books and a fireplace.
There's a club room with a billiard table...
...big-screen TVs and a full bar. Residents can host their own events (BYOB, of course) in the club room as well as participate in complex-sponsored events.
There's a movie theater as well.
Management already offers a full schedule of activities and events for residents.
The club house also has a board room...
...and a business center. The second floor will have a 350-seat ballroom with a full catering kitchen and a private dining room that seats 12.
The club has a fitness center, yoga studio and pool.
Like the apartments, the club's facilities include accommodations for residents in wheelchairs.
Outdoor activities include bocce courts...
...tennis courts and a barbecue area. Outdoor amenities to come include an outdoor swimming pool and dog park.
There's already a dog wash inside the clubhouse.
The streets in the development bear the names of famous horses that raced at Garden State Park, including Triple Crown winner Citation.
The clubhouse is located close to the center of the development, on Citation Lane.
The "Clydesdale" model apartment, a two-bedroom, two-bath, 1200-square-foot unit that rents for $2,500 a month.
The kitchen in the Clydesdale model. Bottom-freezer refrigerators offer easier access for residents.
One of the unit's two bathrooms.
At least one bathroom in every apartment contains a roll-in shower to accommodate residents with disabilities.
Similarly, the laundry rooms and closets in the apartments have extra room to maneuver in them.
One of the closets in the model apartment.
The tour also included a salute to the site's past, in the form of a retired thoroughbred racing horse and jockey Anthony Black, seen here with Andy Kaplin (left) and John Fasciano of TSV-TGA. | Photo: HughE Dillon
Items from Black's personal collection of Garden State Park memorabilia, including this 1985 Jersey Derby program, were also on display on the tour.
Construction is under way on a retention pond to control stormwater runoff from the developments on the site.
Six acres of the site, beyond the trees in the background, are being preserved as open space. These will be ringed with jogging and walking trails open to the public.
The Plaza Grande site plan. Buildings with numbers in white are finished; the finishing touches are being applied to Building 600. The "Old Sales Center" and Building 2000 were completed by former project developer D.R. Horton. | Renderings: Courtesy TSV-TGA Garden State Park LLC
The Plaza Grande development in the context of the Garden State Park master plan.
Garden State Park, 1942-1977 / 1985-2001 | Photo courtesy TSV-TGA Garden State Park LLC
- You Can Now Work Out at the New RippedPHL Cherry Hill: https://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2018/09/06/rippedphl-cherry-hill/
- Cherry Hill School Apologizes for “Party Like It’s 1776” Prom Invites: https://www.phillymag.com/news/2018/05/21/cherry-hill-high-school-prom-invitations/
- Cherry Hill’s Public High Schools Now Have Armed Campus Officers: https://www.phillymag.com/news/2018/04/24/cherry-hill-schools-armed-officers/
- Cherry Hill Home Comes With Hidden Passageway in the Library: https://www.phillymag.com/property/2015/12/03/cherry-hill-home-comes-with-hidden-passageway-in-the-library/
- See all »: https://www.phillymag.com/tag/cherry-hill/
- quickly foundered: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/16/nyregion/development-wary-of-gambling-on-future-of-track.html
Source URL: https://www.phillymag.com/property/2017/12/08/plaza-grande-at-garden-state-park-tour/