Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Delay for Arena Site?

  1. #1

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/08/nyregion/08AREN.html

    Official Urges Delay in Choice of Developer for Arena Site
    By RONALD SMOTHERS

    NEWARK, FEB. 7 — The Republican co-president of the State Senate called on the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority today to put off its selection, scheduled for next week, of a redevelopment plan and developer for the Continental Arena site in the Meadowlands and hold a series of public hearings on the three finalists' plans.

    John O. Bennett, co-president of the Senate, said he was "deeply troubled" by the authority's failure to hold public hearings to "discuss this massive undertaking." Although Mr. Bennett noted that the announcement of which developer the agency would choose was planned for Wednesday, he said the decision could be postponed while "a series of convenient public hearings" are held on the three proposals.

    George Zoffinger, who as president and chief executive officer of the authority has presided over the more than six-month process of soliciting and evaluating the proposals for the site, angrily branded the call for hearings as irresponsible.

    Mr. Zoffinger said that over the years politics had often intervened to block any redevelopment and reuse of land in the Meadowlands. The latest effort by Mr. Bennett and others was a continuation of that, Mr. Zoffinger said, adding that he would proceed on Wednesday with his announcement of a developer.

    "I defy anyone to say that it is not a good thing for the region and the state," he said.

    Mr. Zoffinger noted that throughout the selection process he had been aided by an advisory committee of "stakeholders representing the region's three million people" that was made up of local elected officials and business and labor leaders. The committee met numerous times to evaluate the proposals, Mr. Zoffinger said, and the specifics of each have been on display in 14 municipalities and have drawn more than 500 written public responses.

    The call for hearings on the plans echoes those made in recent weeks by at least one of the three developers, several Republican lawmakers from Bergen County and a few Democrats. Some of those people have charged that politics was playing too large a role in the selection process and said that hearings would level the playing field for the developers.

    The three finalists are the Mills Corporation and Mack Cali Realty Corporation's Xanadu, a $1.3 billion office, hotel and family entertainment complex; Expo Park, an $849 million office, hotel, convention and entertainment center developed by Hartz Mountain Industries and Forest City Ratner Companies; and Westfield Group's $1.2 billion Arena Place, an "urban village" set amidst offices, hotels and a refurbished arena for entertainment.

  2. #2

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/13/nyregion/13MEAD.html

    Giant Playground Is Chosen for Site of Meadowlands Arena
    By RONALD SMOTHERS

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Feb. 12 — More than 100 acres of the New Jersey Meadowlands would be developed as a family entertainment complex with an indoor ski slope, indoor surfing, a Formula One racetrack, a minor league baseball stadium and office towers, under a $1.3 billion redevelopment plan chosen today by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

    The project, called Meadowlands Xanadu, is the proposal of the Mills Corporation, the Virginia-based mall developer, and the Mack Cali Realty Corporation, a Cranford, N.J., office developer. The sports authority selected the partnership from among three finalists who bid to redevelop the Meadowlands site, as the New Jersey Nets and Devils negotiate a move from the Continental Airlines Arena to a proposed arena in downtown Newark.

    Today's 9-to-2 vote by the sports authority ended a contentious selection process that began in September, when six developers submitted proposals, and heated up in recent weeks as the two leading finalists waged a publicity war and some officials called for hearings to solicit public opinion.

    Within the next 60 to 90 days the sports authority and the developer will negotiate the smallest details of the deal. If that goes smoothly, both predicted that construction on the project could start as soon as this summer and be completed within six years.

    George R. Zoffinger, president and chief executive of the authority — which operates Giants Stadium, Meadowlands Raceway and the arena — said the project would turn "the most valuable location in the region" into a family destination with its combination of sports, entertainment, shopping, lodging and offices.

    Among Xanadu's unusual attractions are the Snow Dome, an indoor skiing center that will be the cornerstone of the complex. The only similar center is under construction by Mills in Madrid. The Indoor Wave will offer year-round surfing for accomplished and beginning surfers. The complex will also include an indoor Formula One racing oval, museums, a music and sports hall of fame, a luxury spa, a 520-room hotel, cooking schools and a child-scale city where children can play roles in mock settings like a hospital, bank, post office and airport.

    Laurence C. Seigel, Mills's chairman and chief executive, said Xanadu would assemble a host of new and often untried attractions in a new configuration in which retailing would run a close second to entertainment. The Meadowlands area, surrounded by 16 million people living within a 20-mile radius, is "the best piece of dirt in the U.S." he said, and the ideal testing ground for innovation.

    Most important for the sports authority, Mr. Zoffinger said, the choice would bring the agency an immediate $160 million in upfront lease payments on the land. That money would be used to retire the authority's debt on the deficit-ridden Continental Airlines Arena and avoid $90 million in interest payments over time. The annual payments in lieu of taxes to communities surrounding the 106-acre site would increase tenfold, he said, and the developers have agreed to contribute $65 million of their own funds to help with infrastructure improvements like realigning roadways.

    No taxpayer money will be needed for the project, he said, though future mass-transit access would require public money.

    It was these economic considerations and the guaranteed upfront payments that tipped the authority toward the Mills proposal, Mr. Zoffinger said. The authority has made no deal to share in recurring revenues generated by the complex, though that could be negotiated later.

    In many ways, the selection of the Mills Corporation saves both the state and the mall developer from a costly confrontation. Mills has the development rights on 560 acres of sensitive Meadowlands wetlands on which it had planned to build a mall. While some federal environmental hurdles have been overcome, New Jersey's state government and an army of environmental groups have remained opposed to the project and threatened legal Armageddon over the plan. Today, the developer said it was prepared to donate the proposed mall location, known as the Empire site, to the state and invest substantial money in cleaning it up.

    "This stood head and shoulders over other proposals, and the environmental benefits were nothing short of compelling," said Carl Goldberg, the authority's chairman.

    The losing proposals came from a partnership of Hartz Mountain Industries and Forest City Ratner, whose plan included a convention center, and the Westfield Group, which proposed converting the arena into a performance space.

    The authority's selection drew immediate criticism from some Republican lawmakers in the county who said the authority, which consulted local advisory committees but held no public hearings, was not open enough in making the choice. Other critics predicted that the site would become a traffic nightmare and do little to bring mass transit to the heart of the Meadowlands, as the sports authority originally promised.

    But the prospect of the huge project brought together many other, usually warring, factions.

    Environmentalists like William Sheehan, the Hackensack Riverkeeper and longtime opponent of the Mills plan to build on the more environmentally sensitive parcel, cheered the selection as a rare instance of wetlands preservation in a time when Federal conservation efforts appeared to be drying up.

    Labor unions applauded the estimated 21,000 construction jobs envisioned over the six-year, phased construction of the complex. And business groups, including the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, simply cheered that something was being done to stimulate the local economy. Jim Kirkos, president of the chamber, said that public officials usually just talk about providing an economic engine. "Here, they kept their word and acted," he said.
    Edward B. Vinson, executive vice president of Mills and the project director, said the new complex would be built in phases, with work beginning first on the family entertainment components and a half-million square feet of retail space.

    Under the plan, the Continental Arena will eventually become a performance space, though specifics are yet to be worked out. But construction on the rest of the project can take place, Mr. Vinson said, without interfering with the two teams' use of the arena for the duration of their lease, which runs until 2005. If their Newark plans collapse, he said, the arena could be refurbished.

    Mitchell E. Hersh, chief executive of Mack Cali said the hotel and 1.7 million square feet of office space would be built in the final phase of the project — timing that might coincide with the end of the economic downturn and a return of a stronger market for office space.

    "We think the family entertainment and the sports will be a magnet to draw tenants to this area," Mr. Hersh said. "It's the accessibility and the visibility of the site that will make it a place where people want to be."

  3. #3
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Manhattan - South Village
    Posts
    4,240

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    Photo with above article



    Meadowlands Xanadu, an entertainment complex, was chosen yesterday to replace the Continental Airlines Arena.

    Some interesting excerpts:

    Among Xanadu's unusual attractions are the Snow Dome, an indoor skiing center that will be the cornerstone of the complex. The only similar center is under construction by Mills in Madrid. The Indoor Wave will offer year-round surfing for accomplished and beginning surfers. The complex will also include an indoor Formula One racing oval, museums, a music and sports hall of fame, a luxury spa, a 520-room hotel, cooking schools and a child-scale city where children can play roles in mock settings like a hospital, bank, post office and airport....a minor league baseball stadium...

    The Meadowlands area, surrounded by 16 million people living within a 20-mile radius, is "the best piece of dirt in the U.S." he said, and the ideal testing ground for innovation.

    No taxpayer money will be needed for the project, he said, though future mass-transit access would require public money.

    Today, the developer said it was prepared to donate the proposed mall location, [ 560 acres of sensitive Meadowlands wetlands ] known as the Empire site, to the state and invest substantial money in cleaning it up.

  4. #4

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    I hope it works. *If it doesn't, at least it will be a spectacular failure. * I would suggest that they put some tall structure in as a landmark, as most amusement parks have.

  5. #5
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Manhattan - South Village
    Posts
    4,240

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    I have two minor gripes:

    1. With no transit in the plan the traffic could be horrible.

    2. It will block my view of the city skyline while tailgating at Giants games.

    Otherwise, bring it!

  6. #6

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    I think part of the NYC 2012 extends mass transit to the area, either NJ Transit or even MTA (#7).

  7. #7

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/14/nyregion/14MEAD.html

    Some Unfinished Business Remains in Arena Site Deal
    By RONALD SMOTHERS

    NEWARK, Feb. 13 — As the state chose a plan this week to redevelop the Continental Airlines Arena site as a family entertainment complex, the official euphoria masked a less palpable anxiety over some unfinished business: negotiating a detailed contract and dealing with continuing political opposition to the plan.

    State and county elected officials — Democrats and Republicans alike — agreed today that it was just a beginning when the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority announced on Wednesday that it had chosen the $1.3 billion redevelopment plan by the Mills Corporation and the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation over two competing proposals.

    The winning project, called Meadowlands Xanadu, promises a mixture of entertainment, sports, shopping, lodging and offices that its supporters believe will draw crowds.

    But yet to be addressed are the guarantees that many officials believe they need to ensure that Xanadu remains all that it promises six or seven years from now.

    A particular concern, they said, is that changes in the economy and consumer tastes could force the developers to convert the project's entertainment or office components to retail, turning the project into a mammoth mall that would cannibalize existing stores and malls in the area.

    Still undelivered, they added, is a long-sought mass transit connection to the Meadowlands that many state officials and others initially promised.

    And some officials continue to question whether the deal is rich enough, even with its upfront guarantees of about $250 million to the sports authority, which owns the site, and increased annual payments to the 14 surrounding communities.

    They said that if Xanadu were wildly successful, it could bring in millions in revenue to the region each year. But at the moment there is no clear mechanism to allow the authority and the region to share in that bounty.

    "It's not good that they did that," said the Bergen County executive, Dennis McNerney, a Democrat who was otherwise a big supporter of the Meadowlands Xanadu plan, referring to the state's failure to lock in a profit-sharing arrangement at the outset.

    "In general," Mr. McNerney said, "I think that this helps Governor McGreevey in the county and it helps the sports authority budget."

    George R. Zoffinger, the president and chief executive of the sports authority, said that he and others who will now negotiate with the developers planned to reach some sharing arrangement after revenues reached a certain level.

    "We are excited about this," he said of the project, "and think that we have delivered on what we said we would do."

    Micah Rasmussen, a spokesman for Gov. James E. McGreevey, said the governor was sure that the authority would "hammer out the final details in the negotiations that will make the project a home run."

    Hanging over the entire process is a renewed threat that the Meadowlands redevelopment plan — which was prodded by the New Jersey Nets' and Devils' decision to move from the Continental Arena to a proposed state-supported arena in Newark — would become mired once again in the state's political wars between cities and suburbs.

    Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano, a Bergen County Republican, said that "people in Bergen are still angry about losing the teams, the circus, concerts, ice shows and other attractions at the arena to Newark" and still harbor some hopes of keeping them.

    The Xanadu proposal would allow the Continental Arena to remain in place until 2005, while other attractions are built around it. Both Mr. McNerney and Mr. DiGaetano said they have watched the slow pace of negotiations between Newark and the teams' owners over the new arena, and see some hope for the teams' return to a renovated Continental Arena should those talks collapse.

    Mr. Zoffinger did not discourage such thinking. When asked about this possibility at Wednesday's announcement, a sly grin spread over his face.

    But Richard Monteilh, business administrator for Newark who is involved in the already six-month-long negotiations with the YankeeNets, the teams' owners, insisted that negotiations were going well and that there was "no notion on anybody's part that going back to the Meadowlands was an option."

    Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg, a Bergen County Democrat, said she was concerned about nailing down the provisions for mass transit and other transportation investments at the site. She took issue with Mr. Zoffinger's suggestion that the site's success would attract federal and state dollars for a rail connection.

    Calling that "the-if-you-build-it-they-will-come" approach, she said that the site was already a more proven draw than many of the family entertainment attractions planned by Mills and Mack-Cali.

    The partners have conceded that many of its attractions will be assembled in one location for the first time. Among the proposed attractions are an indoor ski slope, an indoor surfing pool, a miniature Formula One racing oval, wildlife and music museums, a miniature village for role-playing activities by children, a skate park and a minor league baseball stadium.

  8. #8

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    There is at least one other indoor ski slope that I know of, and that's near Tokyo. *As far as I know, that one is pretty successful.

  9. #9

    Default Delay for Arena Site?

    I'd definitely check it out, as long as I didn't have to wait a half a day to ski down it once.

Similar Threads

  1. Con Ed site on the East River
    By Edward in forum New York Skyscrapers and Architecture
    Replies: 1384
    Last Post: January 10th, 2016, 02:15 PM
  2. Request for Culture at WTC Site
    By Kris in forum New York City Guide For New Yorkers
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: July 5th, 2004, 11:28 PM
  3. Future of Flushing Airport Site
    By Kris in forum New York City Guide For New Yorkers
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: March 13th, 2004, 08:15 PM
  4. Gaudi Tower at WTC Site?
    By NYatKNIGHT in forum New York Skyscrapers and Architecture
    Replies: 46
    Last Post: January 30th, 2003, 07:42 PM
  5. Height debated for WTC site
    By NYguy in forum New York Skyscrapers and Architecture
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: January 15th, 2003, 10:58 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Google+ - Facebook - Twitter - Meetup

Edward's photos on Flickr - Wired New York on Flickr - In Queens - In Red Hook - Bryant Park - SQL Backup Software