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Thread: Giants Stadium

  1. #1
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    Giants and NJSEA Reach Agreement

    Deal paves way for renovations, possible Super Bowl for Giants Stadium.

    By Michael Eisen, Giants.com

    September 23, 2003

    East Rutherford, N.J. - The Giants and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority today reached an agreement in principle that resolves a long standing disagreement relative to the extent of renovations to be done to Giants Stadium and who would pay for them. The renovations - which will not require any new taxpayer dollars - make it possible for Giants Stadium to remain in contention as a potential Super Bowl host.

    "We think it's a good deal for the state, certainly for the Giants and certainly for Giants fans, because it gives us a mechanism for renovating Giants Stadium and bringing it up to a state-of-the-art condition, without any taxpayer dollars being spent,"
    - Giants COO John Mara
    A memorandum of understanding, that will become the basis for a new lease arrangement keeping the Giants at Giants Stadium until 2026, will require the Giants to renovate Giants Stadium at their own expense while leaving management of and scheduling for non-NFL events with the NJSEA.

    "We think it's a good deal for the state, certainly for the Giants and certainly for Giants fans, because it gives us a mechanism for renovating Giants Stadium and bringing it up to a state-of-the-art condition, without any taxpayer dollars being spent," said Giants executive vice president and chief operating officer John Mara. "The end result of that is we will have a much better venue for our fans to be able to watch the games."

    Mara said he in an "ideal world" the renovations would begin following the 2004 NFL season and take approximately two years to complete.

    The renovations will include the widening of concourses, and the installation of club seats and additional suites.

    "We have reached an agreement that resolves our concerns about protecting the interests of New Jersey taxpayers," said NJSEA President George Zoffinger. "Significant renovations will be made to Giants Stadium that will satisfy the Giants' interest in significant physical improvements to Giants Stadium without using a penny from taxpayers. The Authority will continue to be able to attract and schedule the spectacular kinds of non-NFL events that brought in nearly a million people in 2003 alone. In addition, the renovations will make Giants Stadium more attractive for a Super Bowl bid."

    There are no guarantees that Giants Stadium will host a Super Bowl. That decision is made by the NFL's 32 owners. But they would not have considering putting the league's premier event in the stadium without the renovations agreed upon today.

    For the Giants, the extra revenue they will derive as a result of the agreement will improve their chances of fielding a championship team.

    "We think that this deal gives us the opportunity to remain competitive with the other teams in the league," Mara said. "The Super Bowl is a nice side benefit that we now have a chance to achieve."

    The agreement shifts revenues to the Giants, along with the responsibility to maintain and pay all operating expenses for the stadium throughout the term of the lease. The Giants are required under the agreement to pay the NJSEA an annual fee for use of the stadium, with adjustments every three years in accordance with fluctuations in the Cost Price Index. In addition, the NJSEA will retain 50% of non-NFL revenues and will receive a percentage of any naming rights payments by the Giants during the term of the lease.

    Zoffinger said the agreement was consistent with the mandate given him by New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey. He said the governor insisted that he make every effort to draw the 2008 Super Bowl to New Jersey without additional costs to the taxpayers and without ceding any control of the Meadowlands facility that would limit the quality or quantity of non-NFL events.

    Gov. McGreevey said he was pleased with his understanding of the proposed agreement and applauded both the NJSEA and the Giants for their efforts in bringing the negotiations to a positive conclusion.

    "I believe the agreement is not just a good deal, but is good public policy," McGreevey said. "I appreciate that the Giants not only found a way to meet their needs but also respected ours.

    "I told George (Zoffinger) that I expected him to handle the negotiations in a fiscally-responsible, businesslike manner," McGreevey said. "I told him I wanted to get a deal done that would not bruise any taxpayer pocketbooks but that would make Giants Stadium the absolute best venue for the 2008 Super Bowl. Together, both sides seem to have accomplished just that.

    "These new privately-funded stadium renovations, coupled with the scheduled opening of the Xanadu development and our new rail link access, should make the Meadowlands complex an ideal setting not just for the Super Bowl for an unlimited assortment of world class sports and entertainment options well into the 21st Century," he said.

    http://www.giants.com

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    As a NY Giants season ticket holder I'm glad for the renovations, but this new agreement that "will require the Giants to renovate Giants Stadium at their own expense" means only one thing to me; that the fans will pay for a lot of it. Every renovation or stadium improvement so far has been preceded by higher ticket prices, higher concession prices and higher parking fees. :x

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    While it is unfortunate that the owners of this team will most likely pass the expense on to the fans that visit the stadium, it is far better than having tax payers foot the bill. I do not watch sporting events and while I do recognize some of the positive economic impacts that a project like this can have on an area, the money could be far better spent on other infrastructure projects that effect the greater population.

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    Well I definitely agree with that. I'm only complaining that "their own expense" is passed on to the fans one way or another.

    When I lived in Denver the citizens voted to foot the bill for a new Mile High Stadium. They continuously blocked efforts for other new projects despite the fact that the state ranks near the bottom on every list from test scores to poverty. Revamp health care? Expand rail service? Build new schools? No! But a stadium for the Broncos equipped with luxery boxes and louder sound system? Of course! I hear what you're saying Zoe.

  5. #5

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    July 9, 2004

    Giants Consider Building New Meadowlands Stadium

    By RICHARD LEZIN JONES

    NEWARK, July 8 - The president of the agency that owns Giants Stadium confirmed on Thursday that it and the New York Giants were "taking a look" at building a new stadium.

    George R. Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said that the team was also looking into the option of making extensive renovations to add more premium seating and other amenities to the stadium, which is 28 years old.

    According to current estimates, renovations to the stadium could cost about $300 million. Building a new stadium - the team and the authority are considering a site within a half-mile of Giants Stadium - could cost about $600 million.

    "The thought was that this is one of the things we should look at, since we're spending a lot of money already," Mr. Zoffinger said in an interview. "That's all we're doing is taking a look."

    Mr. Zoffinger said that by this fall the team and the authority should arrive at a decision.

    Word that the move was being considered was reported Thursday in The Record of Hackensack.

    If the authority proceeds with plans for a new stadium, it will join a collection of three other major sports construction projects being planned in the New York area.

    The Jets, the team that has shared Giants Stadium with the Giants since 1984, is vying for its own 75,000-seat, $1.4 billion stadium on the West Side of Manhattan. Officials with the New Jersey Nets are planning a basketball arena in Brooklyn, and New Jersey Devils executives are eyeing a hockey arena in Newark.

    Officials with the Giants said their decision on a Meadowlands stadium would not hinge on the fate of the Jets' West Side project, which is well along in planning but has been criticized for its location and cost to taxpayers.

    "I don't really think it affects us one way or the other," said John K. Mara, the Giants' executive vice president. "This is a big enough market that it can support two stadiums."

    Mr. Mara said the team's concerns went beyond the mere cost of building a new stadium.

    "If we do a renovation, parts of the building are still going to be 28 years old," he said. Mr. Mara noted that other factors to consider are possible seat removal in a renovation or logistical issues raised by a new project.

    "We want to do our due diligence," Mr. Mara said.

    Paying for whatever changes take place at the Giants Stadium is also a consideration. Although the Jets' plan calls for $600 million of the new stadium's cost to be financed with state and city money, both Mr. Zoffinger and Gov. James E. McGreevey have repeatedly said that they would not use tax dollars to subsidize sports construction projects.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    November 11, 2004

    Turnover in Trenton, and Hope for Stadium

    By RONALD SMOTHERS

    NEWARK, Nov. 10 - Calling it a "new vision" for the Meadowlands sports complex, State Senator Richard J. Codey, who will take over as New Jersey's acting governor next week, is exploring a plan that would allow the New York Giants to build a new stadium there.

    Through a spokeswoman, Kelley Heck, Senator Codey, an avid sports fan, said on Wednesday that he was open to the idea of a new stadium to replace the current 28-year-old stadium. The team would pay the bulk of the estimated $850 million price tag, but the state would be willing to shoulder some of the cost, a state official involved with the discussions said.

    The plan represents a sharp departure from outgoing Gov. James E. McGreevey's adamant opposition to using public funds for sports venues.

    Senator Codey said through Ms. Heck that "this is a new vision for the Meadowlands. I say this recognizing that a deal will still need to be struck with the state and any of the teams involved."

    The proposal for a new stadium, first reported Wednesday by The Star-Ledger of Newark, will represent a change in the team's plans for the site.

    The team was close to finishing a plan for a $375 million renovation of the stadium with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates the stadium. Under the plan, the team would finance the renovation, but the sports authority would retain its control of the stadium and a share of the revenues. But that plan was never the team's first choice. The team preferred to build a new stadium that the team would own, according to team officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    The McGreevey administration took a hard line in talks with the Giants, seeking to guard the authority's control of the stadium and the revenue it generates. But with Mr. McGreevey's impending resignation, scheduled for Nov. 15, and Mr. Codey's assumption of the office for the 14 months remaining in Mr. McGreevey's term, the Giants have a more willing listener in Trenton.

    George Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said in recent weeks that officials with the Giants had told him that they wanted to re-examine the potential for a new stadium. He said Mr. McGreevey would have been open to the idea of a new stadium, but remained firmly opposed to using public funds.

    "But Codey and I have been speaking with the Giants, who are our primary tenants, and we want to work together," he said.

    John Mara, a member of the family that co-owns the Giants with Robert Tisch, said, "I hope to be meeting with the governor in the next few weeks, and we will share our ideas directly with him."

    The Meadowlands is the site of a horse racing track, the Continental Airlines Arena and the stadium. The race track has been struggling financially. The New Jersey Nets and the Devils, who now call the arena home, plan to move elsewhere. The Nets' new owners plan to move the team to an arena planned for Brooklyn, and the new owners of the Devils hope the team will play in an arena planned for Newark.

    The stadium has long been the jewel of the Meadowlands, and while the Giants claim the 76,000-seat stadium as their home field, it is also home to the New York Jets and the Metro Stars of Major League Soccer. The Jets' lease expires in 2007, and New York City is considering a plan to build a stadium for the team on Manhattan's West Side. The Metro Stars have been negotiating a move to a proposed stadium of their own in Harrison, N.J., but financing for such a project has not been assured.

    The McGreevey administration recently approved plans to build a $1.3 billion sports and family entertainment complex at the Meadowlands called Meadowlands Xanadu, which would be adjacent to the stadium site on land around Continental Arena.

    Mr. Zoffinger said Xanadu, a project scheduled for completion in 2007 that he had personally championed, would not be affected by discussions over a new stadium. But Giants officials have long expressed concern about the impact of the new complex on parking on game days and are expected to press those concerns in any discussions with the Codey administration, said one team official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    December 22, 2004

    Giants Offer to Pay for Stadium; Ask Full Control and No Rent

    By RONALD SMOTHERS and RICHARD SANDOMIR

    NEWARK, Dec. 21 - The owners of the New York Giants have offered to pay the entire cost, estimated at $700 million, to build a stadium for the football team on state land at the Meadowlands, in return for operating the stadium rent-free and controlling all events there year round, a team official said Tuesday.

    "We are prepared to go the new stadium route, provided we reach the right agreement," said John Mara, confirming the latest development in weeks of negotiations between the team and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the state-created agency that owns the land and the sporting complexes at the Meadowlands.

    The proposal, first reported in The Star-Ledger of Newark, comes as Acting Governor Richard J. Codey is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with the team owners and sports authority officials as part of the ongoing negotiations to make a stadium deal.

    The plan represents a shift in the team's position. Earlier it had asked the state to contribute to the construction of a stadium. Under that proposal, the new stadium, like the one there now, would remain under state ownership and would be leased to the team for the football season.

    A spokesman for Mr. Codey, Sean Darcy, would not comment on Mr. Mara's proposal, except to say that the negotiations were continuing. Carl Goldberg, the chairman of the Sports and Exposition Authority, who has been the lead state negotiator with the Giants, and George Zoffinger, the president of the authority, also declined to discuss details of the talks.

    Asked about the effect of the reports on the talks scheduled for Wednesday, Mr. Goldberg said, "We have a meeting with an agenda of items to be discussed, and I contemplate going through those without any impact from these reports whatsoever."

    Mr. Mara would not discuss details of the talks either, but some officials involved in the negotiations said state officials were balking at the Giants' insistence on control of all events in the stadium and their proposal to use it without paying rent.

    The Giants, who have been insisting that their 28-year-old stadium is outdated, had been in negotiations with the sports authority over a proposal to invest $300 million in renovation of the existing stadium. With Gov. James E. McGreevey adamant about not putting state dollars into sports projects, team officials resigned themselves to a renovation deal, even though they really wanted a new stadium.

    The McGreevey administration, instead, put its political clout - and tax dollars - behind a $1.3 billion plan to broaden the use of the Meadowlands from sports - football, basketball and horse racing - to a family entertainment and retail complex called Meadowlands Xanadu. With the resignation of Mr. McGreevey and the arrival of Acting Governor Codey in November, the talks shifted. Mr. Codey, who is also the president of the State Senate, is an avowed sports fan, and he immediately indicated that he favored the primary use of the Meadowlands as a sports complex.

    In particular, Mr. Codey said he would support construction of a stadium for the Giants in the Meadowlands, provided the financial details could be worked out.

    State and team officials said that the Giants' latest proposal is a significant development. It calls for the state to issue tax-exempt bonds to raise construction money, which the team would repay out of stadium revenues.

    But among the many other details of the deal, there is much that must be worked out. For one thing, state officials would have to be persuaded to break precedent and allow a stadium that is completely privately financed to be built on state land, with all its revenue and expenses controlled by the team.

    The deal would also have to consider past sports authority insistence on sharing revenues from luxury boxes and club seats and controlling naming rights and off-season bookings of events like concerts.

    The deal would also have to consider repayment of $117 million in outstanding state-backed debt on the existing stadium; the Giants are silent on the issue in their new proposal, one official said.

    Two state officials said that it would be difficult to grant the team sweeping control of the stadium if the state backed the construction bonds.

    Other questions remain about development in the Meadowlands. The Giants and state officials have been concerned about parking for both the stadium and visitors to the planned Xanadu Meadowlands. Under current arrangements, state officials said, the Giants have a virtual veto over development in the stadium's vicinity that could affect or diminish parking space on game days.

    Mr. Goldberg, when asked about the issues, said, "I would presume that if we are not able to come to a conclusion on construction of a new stadium, then we would revisit the renovation proposal as an alternative."

    But, he added, "That is not on the table at this point."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    December 23, 2004

    Governor and Giants Meet on Plan for a New Stadium

    By LAURA MANSNERUS and RICHARD SANDOMIR

    TRENTON, Dec. 22 - Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, in a continuing personal effort to revitalize the sports complex in the Meadowlands, met with officials of the New York Giants on Wednesday to discuss the team's proposal to build its own new stadium there.

    Mr. Codey would not disclose any details of the meeting, his press secretary, Kelley Heck, said. But several participants, while also declining to discuss the negotiations, said they were productive and would resume soon after the New Year.

    Carl J. Goldberg, the chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the state's lead negotiator, said, "I feel very strongly that there's the highest likelihood of coming to a successful conclusion."

    Mr. Codey supports the Giants' proposal to replace its 28-year-old stadium at its own expense, estimated at $700 million, rather than renovating it as previously planned. The new stadium would be built on a parcel next to the old one.

    But the team and the state remain at odds over whether the Giants should continue to pay rent to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the owner of the property. The Giants also want greater control over revenues, naming rights and off-season bookings, and are seeking a guarantee of 30,000 surface parking spaces during games.

    Participants in the discussions denied earlier reports that the team was asking the state to issue construction bonds for the project, which would have made it more difficult to cede control over the stadium to the team.

    One participant in the discussions said that under the Giants' proposal the state would receive more in state taxes - which would increase considerably with new luxury suites, club seats, restaurants, concessions and retail sales - than it currently collects in rent from the team.

    While the Giants' lease does not expire until 2026, the team and the Sports Authority are eager to reach an agreement, especially since construction is to begin as early as next month on Meadowlands Xanadu, a huge retail and entertainment complex adjacent to the stadium.

    The Xanadu project includes a 4,000-space parking deck on property that the Giants currently use for surface parking on game days. The parking deck is scheduled for construction as soon as the developers, the Mills Corporation and the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, receive their one outstanding environmental permit, from the Army Corps of Engineers.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    January 8, 2005

    In Shift, New Jersey Offers to Pay Debt on Giants Stadium, to Pave Way for New One

    By RONALD SMOTHERS

    NEWARK, Jan. 7 - In a major policy shift, state officials are proposing to pay the $117 million in remaining debt on Giants Stadium to pave the way for a new one.

    State officials had planned to use millions of dollars in lease payments from the developers of a planned Meadowlands shopping and entertainment complex, Meadowlands Xanadu, to pay off the state's debt on the neighboring Continental Arena and save taxpayers $90 million in interest.

    But public and private officials involved in the talks between the state and the Giants over a new football stadium at the Meadowlands said yesterday that Carl Goldberg, chairman of New Jersey's Sports and Exposition Authority, told team officials that the state would be willing to use the Xanadu lease payments to pay off the debt on the 28-year-old stadium.

    Though that debt is owed by the state, Mr. Goldberg had until now insisted that the team shoulder some or all of the debt in exchange for the state's backing of the team's plan to build a $700 million, 80,000-seat stadium on state land rent-free.

    Mr. Goldberg did not return repeated calls to both his offices, and officials in the office of Acting Governor Richard J. Codey declined to confirm the proposal, which was first reported on Friday in The Star-Ledger.

    Officials familiar with the negotiations said the proposal was put forward as an inducement to remove opposition to Xanadu among team officials who, under their current lease with the state, have a virtual veto over Xanadu because it could disrupt game-day traffic, attendance and parking.

    The $1.3 billion Xanadu project would be situated adjacent to the sports complex and has been billed by its developers as the "ultimate sports, leisure, family entertainment and shopping complex in the United States."

    John Mara, chief executive officer of the Giants, would not comment on the proposal, saying only that the negotiations were continuing. He said talks were also under way between traffic consultants hired by the team and the Meadowlands Xanadu developers on whether the two projects "can coexist at all." He called that the most significant issue.

    Other team officials suggested that Mr. Goldberg's offer was not likely to be an inducement to them. One team official called it "no real concession," adding that the sports authority's insistence that they help with what was "a state debt and not a team debt" was merely "a nuisance" in the negotiations.

    The shift by the state highlighted what can happen with a change in governors.

    Under Gov. James E. McGreevey, the Xanadu project and paying off the Continental Arena debt was the priority. As recently as last October, Mr. McGreevey hailed the Xanadu project and held up a giant replica of a $160 million check from its developers, the advance on 15 years of lease payments he said would pay off the arena. But under Mr. Codey, an avid sports fan, keeping the Giants and their fans happy has become a priority.

    A spokesman for the Mills Corporation and Mack-Cali, developers of the proposed Meadowlands Xanadu with its indoor ski slope, surfing pool, multiscreen movie theaters, mini-racing oval and related retail operations, conceded as much. Bob Sommer, the spokesman, said, "If the change in government, polices and priorities means a new focus on the stadium, it's fine with us. We don't oppose it."

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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    February 10, 2005

    New Jersey in Talks With Giants and Jets

    By RONALD SMOTHERS

    EWARK, Feb. 9 - New Jersey officials reported progress on Wednesday in talks with the New York Giants over a new stadium at the Meadowlands, while they also reached out to the New York Jets to persuade them to stay in New Jersey for at least 10 more years.

    "A whole host of additional items were resolved" during a three-hour meeting over a new $700 million, 80,000-seat stadium to be financed by the Giants, said officials with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the Meadowlands sports complex.

    Carl Goldberg, the authority's chairman, refused to discuss details, but said that the parties were scheduled to talk more on Friday.

    However, other officials said that the major movement had been on nonfinancial items, including the Giants' insistence that a $1.3 billion family entertainment and retail complex scheduled to be their neighbor be closed on game days to prevent traffic and parking problems.

    According to those officials, the Giants accepted the authority's position that they could not require the huge Meadowlands Xanadu complex to close.

    "We are landlords for both the Giants and Xanadu and have an obligation to both of these critical tenants to show that not only can they coexist together, but can flourish together," Mr. Goldberg said.

    Meanwhile, authority officials and Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey met with the owners of the New York Jets. The Jets currently share Giants Stadium with the Giants, but the team is pursuing construction of a home stadium on the Far West Side of Manhattan. That effort has encountered legal and political challenges.

    George Zoffinger, president and chief executive of the authority, said that the conversation with the Jets concerned a lawsuit over the issue of rent paid by the Jets to play at the Meadowlands. State officials sought resolution of the dispute to help persuade the team to continue to play in New Jersey for at least the next 10 years.

    "We made the offer because we want to have good relations with them while they are here," Mr. Zoffinger said. "They will consider our offer, but they were very clear that although we would like for them to stay, they wanted to continue to pursue the West Side stadium."

    Privately, consultants for New Jersey say that the best deal for the state would involve a new Meadowlands stadium used by both the Jets and the Giants. According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the consultant reports say that would prevent the state agency from being held hostage by one team or the other and would generate more revenue.

    The Giants and the authority have inched closer in recent weeks to an agreement that would allow the construction of the new stadium. The state and team had agreed to renovate the existing stadium, but when Mr. Codey took office last November, he signaled his desire to see sporting events remain the dominant focus of the Meadowlands, and the push for a new 80,000-seat stadium began.

    His predecessor, James E. McGreevey, had pushed in another direction, introducing Meadowlands Xanadu, a retail, family entertainment and sporting complex that would include indoor ski jumps, surfing pools, Formula racing and other activities, to the area.

    John Mara, the Giants' executive vice president, and other Giants executives dusted off plans for a new stadium, as well as a Giants Hall of Fame building, on a larger piece of property. Mr. Codey assigned Mr. Goldberg to lead the negotiations, in place of Mr. Zoffinger, who had been one of the main forces behind the Meadowlands Xanadu project.

    The team soon went from calling for state financing of the stadium to offering to build it with its own money in exchange for a token rent to the state. When Mr. Goldberg balked at the token rent, the talks seemed to be at an impasse.

    But last week Mr. Mara returned to the negotiations and offered to build the stadium at team expense and to pay the authority a rent of $6.3 million a year. Currently the agency receives $18 million in rent and percentages from concessions and nonsporting events at the stadium.

    "It is a far cry from the zero that they were offering for rent some weeks ago," Mr. Goldberg said, adding that "an enormous amount of progress had been made" in the talks.

    For his part, Mr. Goldberg had begun to accept Mr. Mara's contention that the Giants and the new stadium deal should not be burdened with the authority's concern about paying off $117 million in debt on the existing 28-year-old stadium. Mr. Mara had insisted that the stadium was owned by the authority and the debt associated with it should be paid off by the authority.

    By last week, Mr. Goldberg said he had come around to the view that any deal with the Giants should be based on the value of the real estate on which they wanted to build and not on the broader financial situation and obligations of the agency.

    "At the very onset of the negotiations I incorrectly made a connection between the new stadium and retiring the debt on the old stadium," Mr. Goldberg said. "But now I see that no outstanding obligations of the authority should be included as part of any ground lease for the new stadium. I'm not sure you will see any other team in the country making a 100 percent private investment in construction of a stadium and it is appropriate for us to recognize that in negotiating the lease terms."

    Earlier this week, the Giants said that in an effort to help raise money, they were willing to sell the naming rights to the new stadium they are hoping to build for as much as $100 million.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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    February 15, 2005

    New Jersey to Offer Plan for Jets-Giants Stadium

    By RONALD SMOTHERS

    EWARK, Feb. 14 - With the prospect of a new Manhattan stadium for the New York Jets still uncertain, New Jersey officials are increasingly extolling the virtues of building a new stadium in the Meadowlands that could house both the Jets and the New York Giants.

    Officials are expected to present a proposal on Wednesday to board members of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority portraying the financial benefits of a shared stadium to both teams, as well as to the state, according to one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    The idea of a shared stadium is emerging as the state authority continues to negotiate with the Giants over a replacement for the team's 28-year-old stadium in the Meadowlands. The existing stadium, which is owned by the state, is shared by the Giants and Jets. But the Jets have been seeking a new stadium on the West Side of Manhattan, while the Giants have said they would stay in New Jersey in a new $700-million stadium they want to build on a larger plot of land near the current site.

    John Mara, president of the Giants, would not comment on his possible endorsement of a plan to build a new stadium that would be jointly owned and used by the two football teams. But he said that the Jets would be welcome as a tenant at the envisioned new Giants-owned stadium.

    For their part, officials of the Jets insist that they are still aggressively pursuing construction of a West Side stadium. But in recent days, key legislative leaders have said that New York City should not build a $1.7 billion stadium unless it is awarded the 2012 Olympics - something which will not be determined until a July meeting of the International Olympics Committee.

    Carl Goldberg, chairman of the New Jersey sports authority, said that one of the challenges of his talks with the Giants has been to come up with a stadium plan that accommodates Mr. Mara while maintaining "a flexibility" to accommodate the Jets should they decide to stay in the Meadowlands longer than they had planned.

    One state official said that the ideal arrangment would be a new stadium on authority land, financed equally by the teams. As owners, each team would be able to keep all of the range of revenues from their games, including luxury boxes, advertising and concessions, while the state would gain the rights and revenues from leasing the stadium during the off season for nonsporting events.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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    March 10, 2005

    Stadium Deal Falls Apart for New Jersey and the Giants

    By RICHARD SANDOMIR
    he New York Giants said that their deal to build a privately financed $700 million Meadowlands stadium collapsed yesterday when New Jersey officials added two last-minute conditions that the team insisted were unacceptable.

    "I thought we'd be here to announce a deal, but it blew apart today," Joe Shenker, an outside lawyer for the team, said during a meeting with reporters.

    The team thought until early in the day that a final issue raised by Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey - a $3 million payment the state would get if the Jets did not build a stadium on the Far West Side of Manhattan and were co-tenants in a new Giants facility - had been settled and that it would announce a final agreement with the state.

    But the talks fell apart over the state's refusal to guarantee that there would be no special taxes imposed in the future on stadium revenues and its insistence on a separate agreement clearing the way for Meadowlands Xanadu, an entertainment and retail park that is to be built near the stadium.

    The team's executive vice president and chief operating officer, John Mara, and Steve Tisch, whose father, Robert, is the Giants' co-owner, said they were frustrated by a turn of events that blindsided them. They said they had agreed to all of the state's economic demands, primarily its request for $6.3 million in annual rent, rather than the nominal $1 the team had proposed.

    Mr. Tisch said that there were 17 drafts of the agreement with the state.

    "Seventeen times the goal line has moved, and each time we reluctantly moved," he said, then added, "We've gone as far as we can or will go."

    Mr. Codey played down the Giants' anger with the late twists in the talks and said in a news conference at the Meadowlands Race Track that he believed a deal was "close" but was not confident that it could be completed.

    Mr. Mara said that he would reluctantly listen to any pitch that might come from the ownership of the Jets, who are fighting to preserve their plan to build a $1.7 billion stadium that would require $600 million in public financing.

    "If that overture is made in the future, we'd have to listen," Mr. Mara said. He added that the team's intention was to stay in New Jersey.

    Mr. Codey said he doubted that the Giants would ever move to Manhattan.

    The first issue added to yesterday's negotiations was Mr. Codey's refusal to rule out letting any of his successors try to tax revenue-generating activities at the new stadium. In his current budget proposal, a tax is suggested on luxury suites. He told team officials that he would drop it from the budget, but they nonetheless fear that such a tax could be enacted on suites, club seats or tickets, and would jeopardize the Giants' ability to pay its debt service.

    In addition, the team said that its memorandum of understanding with the state on the stadium required that any additional taxes levied on stadium revenues would be offset against the rent the team will pay. In the late afternoon, Mr. Codey called team officials to say that even if $5 million or more in taxes were levied, the most the team could reduce its rent by would be $1.9 million a year.

    After his appearance at the track, Mr. Codey said by telephone, "If a future legislature approved a tax, don't you think the team would pass it on to its customers?" He said that team executives "had gotten into a lather" when they learned of the proposed luxury tax in the budget.

    The second issue that angered the Giants was the state's insistence that it immediately sign off on a separate agreement with the developers of Meadowlands Xanadu. The team said that it would not surrender a provision in the memorandum of understanding calling for a 30-day period, after a final stadium agreement with the state, to negotiate how the new stadium would coexist with Xanadu on Giants game days, largely in terms of parking and traffic.

    "We want to work out an agreement where we can operate and they can operate, without gridlock," Mr. Mara said. The team said the deal with the Mills Corporation and Mack-Cali was contingent on a signed stadium agreement.

    But the Giants can reduce their lease, which expires in 2026, by 10 years if Xanadu construction starts without their consent.

    A member of the board of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the new conditions added by Mr. Codey reflected criticism by board members that the Giants agreement was a giveaway that the state could not afford.

    The team also has a clause in its current lease, which was extended in 1995, that Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch said would cost the sports authority, which owns Giants Stadium, hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the facility to be "competitive with newly constructed or renovated" stadiums around the National Football League. Those improvements would include modern luxury suites, new scoreboards, sound and lighting systems, locker rooms and concession stands.

    The authority has said it could make the "reasonable periodic alterations" required by the lease for much less than the team's estimate.

    Mr. Mara said that the team's hopes of having a new stadium for the 2008 season were over. "Only a miracle can save it," he said. "This really reduces my appetite for doing a deal."

    Any delays, he said, would raise the cost of the stadium because of annual increases in construction costs. He and Mr. Tisch also said that it has always been crucial for the Giants to be able to start selling luxury suites and club seats before any other new sports facilities, such as the new arena that has been proposed for Brooklyn, or the Jets' stadium, are in a position to compete.


    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  13. #13
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Both sides are bieing intractable in this.

    Seriously, if the Giants were worried about this, they could simply put in a clause that the "rent" was actually just a minimum tax base.


    I think agreeing to a fixed payment for all perpetuity is not reasonable, and I don't think "sneaking" in a megalith like Xanadu (what a stupid name) into the deal is fair either.

    The developers that are helping the Giants and their owners are trying to get some awfully big extras in in the same package with something they know the state is favorable towards.


    I hate the fact that nothing can just be simply agreed apon these days. If one side seems to agree too quick, the other keeps pushing to see how much more they can get out of them, and vice versa.

  14. #14

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    What's wrong with Xanadu. It worked for Orson Welles.

  15. #15
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    Im a Jersey guy (although born in NYC) and Im a fan of both the Giants and Jets (probably lean towards the Jets though) however I hate the Meadowlands.

    Im thinking with this latest development and the difficulties the Jets are having with their West Side Stadium that perhaps it would be in boths team's interests to work together and get a stadium deal done privately with no public money.

    The Jets have proposed to spend $800 Million towards the construction of the West Side stadium, the $800 Million would go towards the construction of the actual structure but would not include the platform or the roof.

    The City was/is going to pay $300 Million and the State were/are going to pay $300 Million to cover the costs of the roof and platform above the rail yard over which the stadium will be built.

    The Giant's meanwhile have been proposing spending between $600-800 Million of privately financed money they will secure to build a new Giant's stadium.

    If the Giants and Jets combine their resources they would be able to build the West Side stadium with absolutely no public funds, which makes getting the project built easier but it also makes it more lucrative for both teams.

    Owning the Stadium outright would mean being able to rent out the stadiums space for Javit's Center events, as well as being able to pocket all sales from the stadium.

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