Thu, Dec 15, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Giants, Jets seem to be happy with new stadium plan

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

The Jets and Giants unveiled preliminary plans for a joint stadium in the Meadowlands on Monday at a news conference that turned into a homage to New Jersey's acting governor, Richard Codey, who will leave that office next month.

Team owners and the chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority complimented Codey for his role in fashioning what would be a unique deal in the NFL, the first time that two teams have sought to build one stadium together.

"I don't believe this would have occurred without his involvement," said John Mara, chief operating officer of the Giants. "He was there at all the critical times to push one side or another, including the sports authority. It's been a dream of his for quite some time."

The preliminary master plan places the new complex between the existing stadium and the nearby Meadowlands racetrack, with links to a retail complex, a new rail station and the Xanadu entertainment and retail complex now under construction near the Continental Arena.

The teams hope to produce a final plan early next year and begin construction in 2007, so that the stadium can open in 2010.

The goalposts will be near the northern and southern ends of the stadium, which will include an atrium, a football hall of fame, team stores, restaurants and conference space, as opposed to the current east-west configuration.

Although the complex will have as many as 200 luxury suites, up from 117, L. Jay Cross, the president of the Jets, said the two teams had not settled on the configuration of the stadium bowl itself.

The teams said that the decision to put a roof on the structure would depend on whether the NFL agreed to double the usual US$150 million allocation for a team building a stadium in a major city.

John Lettiere, the New Jersey transportation commissioner, said the complex would be accompanied by US$225 million in improvements to Routes 17 and 3 and Interchange 16 of the New Jersey Turnpike, as well as a new train station.

The transportation plan sparked criticism from mass transit advocates, who said that increasing the capacity of the highways surrounding the Meadowlands doomed the prospects for the train station.

"If you make it easier for people to drive, people will drive," said Damien Newton, New Jersey coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, an advocacy group.

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