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Giants push ahead on plans for new stadium

9/15/2005 - NFL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants say they are
close to deals for a new football stadium at the Meadowlands Sports
Complex to be owned and operated jointly with the New York Jets.

The announcement Thursday came as the Giants submitted a revised
plan for a new stadium to the Jets and the New Jersey Sports and
Exposition Authority, which runs the Meadowlands. The Giants and
Jets are now tenants at Giants Stadium.

The plan was delivered a day before the sports authority is to
consider whether to recommend that New Jersey walk away from its
agreement with the Giants on a new stadium.

That opinion could hinge on whether the Giants reach an accord
with the Jets, who have proposed a design of their own for the
Meadowlands.

On Thursday, the Jets appeared to have a different view of the
status of negotiations.

"I think at this point we are far apart," spokeswoman Marissa
Shorenstein said.

The 80,000-seat stadium and adjacent practice facility proposed
by the Giants would cost $800 million and be paid for by the teams,
said John K. Mara, the Giants' chief operating officer. It is
designed to accommodate a retractable roof, at a cost of about $200
million more, which Mara said he hoped the state and NFL would help
pay for.

It could open in time for the 2009 season.

"That's still our hope, but that's very ambitious at this
point," Mara said.

In addition, the new plan attempts to make peace with the
developers of Xanadu, a retail-entertainment center rising across
Route 120 from the stadium around the Continental Airlines Arena.
The Giants, who have tried to derail Xanadu, now envision a retail
center of their own that would include a pedestrian walkway
connecting it to Xanadu.

The agreement between the Giants and the state, reached in the
spring, calls for a new, privately owned stadium to replace the
state-owned Giants Stadium, one of the oldest in the NFL. The
agreement allows the state to opt out if the Giants do not have a
deal with the Jets by 5 p.m. Monday, said sports authority Chairman
Carl J. Goldberg, although that step would not be taken lightly.

"The sports authority remains committed, as we were in April,
to building a new stadium at the Meadowlands," Goldberg said.

He said the Giants have already missed the deadline for an
agreement with Xanadu developers, but Mara said such an agreement
appears close. The alternative would be renovating the existing
stadium, which could cost the state hundreds of millions of
dollars, but provide little additional revenue, Mara said at a
briefing for reporters.

The Jets had been trying to build a stadium on the West Side of
Manhattan, but after that effort failed in June, the Jets proposed
building a 90,000-seat stadium with the Giants that would be
integrated with Xanadu.

"We're very close to concluding a deal" with the Giants,
Robert G. Sommer, a spokesman for the Xanadu developers, said
Thursday evening,

The $1.3 billion Xanadu project is being built by the Mills
Corp. of Virginia and Mack-Cali Realty of Cranford.