Promises were made in February
2003, but a lot has changed in the last 20 months.
· NJ Sports & Expo Authority has backed away from a pledge to use Xanadu advance rent
money to pay off the entire $160 million arena debt immediately.
· The limit for 600,000 square feet of retail space, but as of October 2004 the list is
600,000 square feet "traditional retail" and 275,000 square feet of
"entertainment/retail" -- i.e. Virgin Record mega store.
· More that 12,000 of the 20,000 jobs that are to be created would be within the four
440,000 square foot office towers to be built in the projects optional second phase.
George Zoffinger said on the day Xanadu was selected that by paying off the arena
debt at once, it would turn the $160 million into $250 million when the saving on interest
was considered. On Thursday, October 7, 2004 he said the the money may go toward
renovating Continental Arena or a new Giants Stadium.
In addition, the $160 million is reduced by $26.8 million to purchase the Empire Tract.
Mill's official have referred to"donating" the Empire Tract to the state
for wetlands preservation. The former Mills property previously had been scheduled to be
used as a wetlands mitigation bank, allowing for developers to pave wetlands elsewhere.
Sports Authority Chairman Carl Goldberg assured everyone in February 2003 that the ratios
proposed by Xanadu would be memorialized in the final developers agreement --600,000
square foot of retail on a 5,000,000 square foot project.
For the last several months Mills official have been differentiating between traditional
and non-traditional retailing. Virgin Records Mega store at 25,000 square feet and
Cabela's hunting, fishing and outdoor store at 175,000 square feet are being considered
non-traditional retailing. Mill's officials state that Cabela's 40,000 gallon
freshwater aquarium and a mountain replica complete with running streams and a trout pond
hardly qualifies as traditional retail space.
Goldberg stated his focus from the outset has been between retail with no entertainment
component, versus retail that is genuinely integrated into an entertainment experience.
The 1.1 million square feet allocated to retaining or entertainment/retail comprises about
half of the first phase. It includes such attractions at a 35 screen movie palace, a
140 foot indoor skiing snow dome and a children's role-playing theme park.
Mack-Cali's Chief Executive Mitchell Hersh stated that the offices will be build as
planned, but it is impractical to commit to building a fixed amount of office space given
the uncertain economic climate.
The Meadowlands YMCA was promised a permanent facility in February 2003 and that
Mill/Mack-Cali had offered to donate space and help the Y raise funds for a
state-of-the-art facility with a swimming pool and child care. The final amount of
square feet have yet to be determined and according to Mill's executive Laurence Siegel
that the YMCA proposal was not something we're discussing currently.
Source: The Record, Monday, October 11, 2004
More -- Xanadu falls short --Record Editorial October 17,