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Giants, Jets working as a team on stadium



The latest draft plan for a Meadowlands football stadium is a perfect expression of team equality -- the border atop each page is "New York Jets green," while the border below is "New York Giants blue."


arrow_bigup.gifThe blueprint for the future Meadowlands football stadium and surrounding development, including the Xanadu retail and entertainment complex.

"There are differences between the two teams as to the design submissions, of course, but all the critical mileposts on the timetable continue to be met," StadCo spokeswoman Alice McGillion said.

Jets principal owner Woody Johnson agreed.

"This is a very, very complex project, with a lot of moving parts," Johnson said. "At the end of the day, we are making decisions and moving the project forward pretty dramatically."

Giants co-owner John Mara said the teams soon will enter a key series of negotiations.

"The next few months are critical to the process," Mara said. "We'd all like this to go even faster, but there are a lot of design decisions that will have to be made."

Johnson did acknowledge that "cost is an issue." Mara could be seen wincing last fall when Jets President Jay Cross said at a joint press conference that the ultimate price tag figured to be "north of $1 billion."

An Aug. 1 goal for obtaining a firmer cost estimate for the new 82,500-seat facility has not been met. But McGillion said some preliminary figures have been obtained.

The current plan called for a "schematic design phase" from March through July, followed by a "design development phase," which began last week and is supposed to conclude by Dec. 31.

StadCo executive Mary Musca said during an environmental impact hearing in Lyndhurst last month she hoped to be able to offer greater detail on the stadium's design sometime this fall. Initial construction is scheduled to begin in July, once permits are obtained and utility work is complete.

Carl Goldberg, the chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said a stadium ground lease currently is being reviewed by Governor Corzine's staff in Trenton. The sports authority board may give the lease preliminary approval next month, Goldberg added, with a final approval perhaps by the end of the year.

"There have been times in the past when I've been critical of some of the stadium document submissions, but for some time now the submissions have all been comprehensive and first-rate," Goldberg said. "A partnership like this eventually takes a natural course toward concluding all the details."

The revised master plan was released June 30. Almost a year earlier, the Giants had submitted their own master plan for an asymmetrical stadium that would have placed all 200 luxury suites and all 10,000 premium, or "club," seats on one side of the new stadium.

The Jets, who have played at Giants Stadium for two decades, signed on last September as co-tenants for a new facility, which will have a neutral corporate name. The teams now have agreed to a more traditional bowl design.

Another key difference in the two plans is that the Giants' new practice site will be placed at the far western end of the Meadowlands Sports Complex currently occupied by parking lots 13 and 17. The Giants had planned to put the practice site adjacent to the new stadium, but the Jets objected. The Jets will build their practice facility in Florham Park.

The new plan also has 9,000 club seats, a reduction of 1,000.

In both cases, a football Hall of Fame, team store and football-themed dining are planned as new in-stadium amenities. A pair of ancillary components totaling 520,000 square feet will be bisected by the new Pascack Valley rail link into the sports complex. Retail, restaurants, health and fitness areas, and a broadcast facility would be part of those additional sections of the stadium complex.

This article contains material from The Associated Press.


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