Yesterday, the teams’ owners joined acting Gov. Richard Codey to unveil plans for a stadium development that comes with a Giants practice facility across the parking lot and a major, football-themed retail, hotel and restaurant complex next door.
The teams have not completed a final design for the $900 million stadium, but Jets President Jay Cross said it would have about 80,000 seats, and 200 suites running along the sidelines. The stadium will be built in the parking lot between the current stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack and will likely open for the 2010 season.
Nevertheless, under the plan unveiled yesterday, the Giants will build a practice facility and headquarters in the extreme western parking lot of the sports complex. Also, a 520,000-square-foot retail, hotel and restaurant complex that may also include a major health care facility will connect with a new train station at the Meadowlands. The development will be integrated with the Xanadu retail and entertainment center that is being built in the Continental Airlines Arena parking lot.
Codey is trying to persuade the National Football League to provide some $300 million in financing for the stadium to build a roof. The league has a program, known as G-3, that has provided up to $150 million for each team that builds a stadium. To get to $300 million, the NFL would have to grant funding to both the Jets and the Giants.
A roof would allow the stadium to host such major events as the Super Bowl and the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Getting approval for stadium-construction funding from the NFL requires three-quarters of the league’s owners.
Greg Aiello, the NFL’s chief spokesman, said the league has never had to consider a two-team application for a single facility. For his part, the Giants’ John Mara is hoping payback time has arrived.
“We have voted yes every time for the other teams and we’d like to think we’ll get that yes vote in return,” Mara said. “But some people have short memories.”
I’m still trying to understand why anyone would name a retail and entertainment center after a not particularly well-received Olivia Newton-John star vehicle.