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Stadium News - City Council To Vote on Stadium Financing?


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Council may get say on stadium

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller will introduce a bill tomorrow to force Mayor Bloomberg to get the Council's okay for a new Jets stadium on Manhattan's far West Side.

And Miller seems to have lined up the votes.

The Manhattan Democrat's legislation calls for a formal Council approval before the mayor can earmark city revenues known as PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) for any economic development project - such as a stadium.

That's precisely the kind of oversight City Hall has tried to avoid since Bloomberg announced the sweetheart deal last year for a combined $600 million in city and state subsidies for the Jets.

"There is a larger principle here than whether you're for a stadium or against it," Miller said yesterday. "No mayor should be able to divert $300 million from a personal slush fund for his own personal political agenda."

Miller says he has the votes to override an expected mayoral veto. He has fast-tracked it for a March 22 public hearing and a full vote by early next month, and he wants it to take effect immediately.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), another stadium opponent, plans to introduce a similar bill tomorrow in Albany.

Miller, a mayoral candidate who was at first noncommittal about the stadium, has recently joined ranks with Fernando Ferrer and Rep. Anthony Weiner, other Democratic mayoral hopefuls, in strongly opposing the Jets plan.

Meanwhile, public opinion polls show most New Yorkers don't want all that city money spent on a football stadium.

If Miller's bill passes, it will quickly lead to a court battle between the Council and Bloomberg - and more delays for the stadium plan.

The mayor says he doesn't need anyone's signoff to use the PILOTs, which are annual payments that major developers pay the city instead of real estate taxes.

But Miller appears to have struck a chord among many Council members with his accusation that Bloomberg has overstepped his mayoral powers.

At least three key Council leaders who still support the stadium plan said yesterday they will back the new Miller bill.

"I'm not crazy about giving up unprecedented authority to the mayor to circumvent the Council to fund projects," said Majority Whip Leroy Comrie (D-Queens). "That's not the New York way of doing things."

Majority Leader Joel Rivera (D-Bronx) and Finance Committee Chairman David Weprin (D-Queens) have signed on as co-sponsors of the Miller bill.

At the heart of the dispute is who controls the little-known revenue stream from the payments.

"The more I look at it, the more I am convinced that the issue of PILOTs is one that should have Council approval," said Councilman Phil Reed (D-Manhattan), who has taken no position on the stadium.

Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, the chief architect of the Jets deal, refused for months to explain how the city would fund its $300 million portion of the public subsidy.

It was not until a few weeks ago that Bloomberg officials revealed they planned to use $21 million a year from PILOTs to pay the debt service on the city's share of 30-year bonds for the stadium.

Bloomberg and Doctoroff say the stadium is crucial both for their plans to revitalize the far West Side and for the city's 2012 Olympic bid - both of which stadium critics dispute.

The total cost of the domed stadium and the platform over the Long Island Rail Road yards is now projected at $1.7 billion, which would make it the most expensive stadium ever built.

At that price, it's hardly asking too much for the mayor to consult the one elected body that's supposed to approve the city's budget.

Originally published on March 8, 2005

if the council rejects that use of PILOTs, there's no way they'll let the Jets use them for their portion of the stadium, and it's a whole new ballgame. we'll possibly get to see what woody really wants - a west side stadium, or a taxpayer-paid west side stadium. if the city loses its PILOTs, it will actually cost less long term - if woody loses his, it will cost him a lot more than the $50MM he was going to put up for his $800MM 'contribution'....

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I think Cross' responce to the Star Ledger earlier this week gives you an Idea what may happen...

Jets have Plan B: New Jersey

Saturday, March 05, 2005

BY MATTHEW FUTTERMAN

Star-Ledger Staff

http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-1/1110003415304980.xml

The Jets would favor the Meadowlands over a site in Queens if the team's dream of a stadium on Manhattan's West Side falls through, team president Jay Cross said yesterday.

Cross's comment during a conference at New York Law School comes as opposition to the West Side project continues to grow. The comment was confirmed by two members of the Jets public relations staff who insisted Cross remains committed to the West Side plan for the New York Sports and Convention Center and that it would bring tens of millions of dollars to New York State and New York City each year.

However, Cross has had several discussions with New Jersey officials about building a new stadium with the Giants in the Meadowlands so the team can keep its options open.

The West Side stadium would also serve as the Olympic Stadium if New York's bid for the 2012 Summer Games is successful. State officials in New York have said they would be more inclined to provide the $600 million in public funding the Jets have requested for the controversial project if New York gets the Olympics.

Some critics say the Jets could build a cheaper stadium in Queens that would be closer to the team's fan base. But another team official dismissed that idea.

Jets spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein said the team could build a stadium with the Giants on state-owned land in the Meadowlands for "about half the cost of building in Queens, which is a site that has to go through condemnation and years of planning."

Negotiations between New Jersey officials and the Giants on a deal for a new stadium continued yesterday, with the two sides trying to solve the last remaining disagreement -- who would reap the financial benefit if the Jets stay.

Officials involved with the negotiations said the state yesterday asked the Giants to pay the state an additional $3 million annually if the Jets stay.

That payment would be in addition to the current $6.3 million the team will pay annually to rent 75 acres at the sports complex. The extra $3 million, however, would not be required if the Giants' profits fail to reach certain levels.

Acting Gov. Richard Codey said the two sides are "close" to a deal but needed more time. "Hopefully we can get something next week," he said.

Giants chief executive John Mara said the two sides made progress but need to finalize a deal quickly.

"We talked for a while about a number of issues," Mara said. "We've got a conference call scheduled for early next week. We need to get something done soon because we are running out of time for the 2008 season."

In a related issue, developers of the proposed Xanadu project in the Meadowlands are so confident they will receive their final permit within 10 days they are planning a gala ceremony to hand over to environmentalists the deed for hundreds of acres of wetlands March 15.

Mills Corp. of Virginia and Cranford-based Mack-Cali Realty have been waiting for months to receive permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fill eight acres of wetlands when they build a massive retail and entertainment center in the Meadowlands.

The developers have also been seeking approval from the Giants before construction begins, though Mills/Mack-Cali intends to begin construction as soon as it gets the Army Corps permit.

"We are extremely optimistic we will have the permit by the 15th," said Bob Sommer, a spokesman for Mills/Mack-Cali.

Top construction officials for the developers have been living at the Sheraton Meadowlands across Route 3 from the sports complex for several weeks in anticipation of the Army Corps permit.

The developers plan to move another 13 officials into the hotel the day after they receive the permit and begin construction on the $1.3 billion project immediately.

The Giants insist their lease gives them the power to stop Mills. The team fears Xanadu will cause a traffic nightmare on football Sundays and is wary of spending $700 million on a stadium without knowing the full impact of the retail and entertainment center.

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Congrats isired....you and your fellows have nearly succeeded in killing the Stadium. I hope you are very happy with yourself.

Guess the Jets will always be a second class franchise in a city that is proving itself to be pretty second class too.

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Congrats isired....you and your fellows have nearly succeeded in killing the Stadium. I hope you are very happy with yourself.

Guess the Jets will always be a second class franchise in a city that is proving itself to be pretty second class too.

if the stadium gets killed, it will be because of shady financing and political cronyism. i simply progressed, in the last year, from 'interested' to 'how will they pay for it' to 'why aren't they telling us how they're going to pay for it' to 'oh, that's why they're not saying...'

i still don't know if it's dead - i think woody will get the rights, i think the city/state $600MM will get approved, and i think they will probably still allow woody's bonds to be tax free. i think they'll deny him the PILOTs, though, so he'll have to pay his own loan off from stadium revenue. so i think it will ultimatly be up to woody and 'wall st.' to make the decisions they should have been making all along - for woody, "should i pay to build and own a stadium on the west side of manhattan?" and for wall st., "is woody worth the risk (without taxpayer guarantees)?"

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want to be a first class franchise - put out a good team and compete year in and year out for the Super Bowl - thats how you become first class

yeah, what about this plan - take your $1B, give belichick $70MM for 5 years to walk away, the OC/DC $15MM for 5 years to come (ok, that move would have sounded a lot better 6 months ago...) give kraft $100MM to let him and his staff go, and another $100MM to give you the pick of 10 players off of his roster, you've got $50MM to sign the assistants, then use the balance (well, $450MM of it) to build the NJ stadium with the giants or use the whole balance to build a queens stadium...

wow, that could actually work... wait, i better...

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want to be a first class franchise - put out a good team and compete year in and year out for the Super Bowl - thats how you become first class

I agree & again I must state the obvious - WOODY JOHNSON DID NOT BUY THIS TEAM TO PROMOTE A WINNER - He's only interested in the stadium!

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