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[More news clips]
Carlstadt Moves To Block Xanadu And Save Wetlands
Carlstadt urges engineers to deny permit for Xanadu , October 20, 2004 [More]
Sierra Club Sues Xanadu, October 14, 2004 [More]
A project built on
"Xanadu looks different as we get closer" (Page A-1, Oct 11, 2004). [More]
It's a mall. and a huge one at that.
It appears the Mills Corp. and the New jersey Sports and Exposition Authority are trying
to pull a fast one with the development of the Xanadu project in the Meadowlands.
They are reluctant to call this what it is -- a very large regional mall. They make
ludicrous definitions of what a retail establishment is. The project has been
approved without a proper traffic study on its effect on local roads, specifically
highways like Route 3 and 17 that are at or close to capacity. Vagueness has been
the cornerstone of this project from day one.
The fuzzy definitions of retail and entertainment, to keep the project's scope in line
with sports authority mandates, take the prize for the biggest deception. By those
definitions, my local grocery store would probably qualify as entertainment as it has
Muzak and I can view foods for around the world. If a company makes the majority of
its money from ale of merchandise it is a retail establishment, period. So a Virgin
Records mega-store and a Cabela's sporting goods store are not entertainment but retail
and should be included within the 6000,000-square-foot retail cap.
By comparison, Palisades Center in West Nyack, N.Y. is a mere 1.85 million square feet;
Xanadu's 2.4 million square feet will dwarf it. Palisades Center is also a project
that offers"family entertainment", shopping, movies and restaurants.
Recent information indicates that Palisades Center receives 22 million visitors per year,
averaging out to about 60,000 per day, roughly attendance at a Giants Stadium event.
To be successful, Xanadu will need at least this number of people on a daily basis.
Public transportation will help. But I cannot envision people going to the movie,
out to dinner or bringing the family to listen to music in a music store taking public
transportation. Add to this the proposed office development and the Encap golf
development and you have a huge traffic disaster in the making.
Local municipalities, which should be the ones protesting this development, have been
bribed into silence with the promise of municipal aid. They certainly will need it,
as this development and the ensuing gridlock will ultimately lead to the lower property
values in the region
John Mackerey, Rutherford, October 12, 2004 -- as it appeared in "Your Views",
The Record Thursday, October 14, 2004.
Xanadu falls short --Record Editorial October 17, 2004
Is Xanadu a good deal for New Jersey? Record,
October12, 2004, Other Views Section
Yes: George Zoffinger, President, NJ Sports and Exposition Authority and Carl
No: Emanuel Stern, President and COO of Hartz Mountain Industries
Xanadu--How the plan
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.
Source: The Record, Monday, October 11, 2004 [More]
Xanadu Gets Final
Approval from State
Ground breaking for the $1.3 Billion project with a 75 year lease from the NJ Sports and
Exposition Authority is scheduled for Wednesday, October 13, 2004.
The State Department of Environmental Protection Agency granted the necessary permits on
Monday. Governor McGreevey stated that Xanadu is the catalyst for bringing mass
transit projects such as a $150 million Pascack Valley rail link to the Meadowlands.
The deal includes the Authority purchasing the 600 acre Mills Tract for $26.8 million and
turning it over to the Meadowlands Conservation Trust. Jeff Tittel, executive director of
the NJ chapter of the Sierra Club called the purchase a gift to the developers since the
land had been recently rezoned for open space.
Carlstadt officials also oppose the money for preservation swap because the borough will
lose tax revenue as a result of the Empire Tract preservation.
Hartz continues to reiterate their contention that the retail component makes Xanadu a
The current sport's complex tenants (Giants, Jets, Devils, etc.), have issues regarding
their guarantees for parking spaces, and appear to show willingness to diss the matter.
Source: The Record, October 5, 2004
The Record Editorial
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
A Glorified mall
Xanadu must be held to its
Ever since it was first proposed,
skeptics have voiced concern that the massive Xanadu redevelopment project for the
Meadowlands Sports Complex would be nothing more than a mall in disguise. A hearing this
week added to those concerns.
A lawyer for Hartz Mountain
Industries rattled off a list of likely Xanadu tenants, and they are a whos who of
the mega-mall nearest you: Pottery Barn, Eddie Bauer, the Gap, Gap Kids, Banana Republic,
Bath & Body Works, Victorias Secret, and a cavalcade of other big-name chain
The Hartz lawyer said that of the
191 likely tenants at Xanadu, 170 were retail-related.
Hartz, of course, was an
unsuccessful bidder for the job of redeveloping the site. It has sought at every
opportunity to prevent the successful bidder, Mills/Mack-Cali, from proceeding with the
project. So its claim needs to be seen in the light of its status as an angry rejected
Nevertheless, its assertions are
troublesome in view of the assurances of both the Sports and Exposition Authority and
Mills/Mack Cali that Xanadu would be a sports and entertainment-oriented destination --
and not just a competitor to North Jerseys other malls. Similarly, the latest
assurances of both the developer and the sports authority that the project would not be a
glorified mall were less that satisfying.
A spokesman for Mills this week
called the Hartz list of stores hypothetical and outdated, and added that no leases have
been signed. He said the project would conform to the states requirements.
And George Zoffinger, the head of
the sports authority, has said he will make sure that retail remains only a subordinate
part of the project. However, Mr. Zoffinger is reportedly considering leaving the post
soon. Will his replacement be as vigilant?
The final check on Xanadu will
come from the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, which held this weeks hearing. That
commission must make sure that Xanadu is built as originally advertised -- a sports and
entertainment-oriented destination -- and not a huge mall with a few bells and whistles.
North Jerseys residents will be watching closely.
There are other questions the
Meadowlands commission must pay close attention to, and the answers will have an enormous
impact for decades to come on this regions economy and quality of life.
Are the traffic and mass transit
plans adequate for the site, as the developers insist, or will Xanadu create major traffic
Is There adequate parking?
And will there be adequate onsite
sewerage treatment to ensure that the nearby marshes and waterways arent harmed?
Os special concern is the impact
on traffic. Mills/Mack Cali is putting up $65 million for highway improvements. But almost
half of that sum is going to build temporary parking garages and fill in a few acres of
wetlands on the site. The needed highway improvements could run more than $100 million.
Since public agencies are footing
the bill for a $150 million rail link, Mills/Mack Cali should contrtibute more to the
roadwork and rail link.
At the hearing, Xanadus
backers painted a rosy picture of economic development. They have estimated that the
project will generate some 20,000 jobs during construction and after completion, as well
as generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. The backers have also left
little doubt that they want to commission to rubber-stamp the development plans so a
groundbreaking ceremony can take place without any hitches at the end of next month. But
the Meadowlands commission must not allow itself to be hit by a steamroller. The
commission must take all the time it needs to give this project the careful and
comprehensive review it demands.
Xanadu must not be just another
huge shopping mall. And it must not make the horrendous traffic in this region even worse
than it is.
Nothing less than a hard-nosed
study by the Meadowlands commission will do.
Source: The Record Editorial, Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Rival goals collide in Xanadu legal fight
The Record, Sunday, March 21,
George Zoffinger expressed optimism that Hartz Mountain Industries would drop a lawsuit
that could delay -or even unravel a proposed $1.3 billion entertainment, office,
and retail project at the Continental Arena site. But the New Jersey Sports and Exposition
Authority president now seems resigned to a court showdown over the Xanadu project next
Hartz Vice President and General Counsel Irwin Horowitz insisted that Hartz's protest
over the process that led to the selection of the Mills/Mack-Cali joint venture was based
on far more than selfish reasons. "Our interest here coincides with that of our
tenants, with local motorists, with everybody's," Horowitz said. "Ten or 15
years from now, we'll still be in business. But will he have people climbing over cars on
Route 3 to get here?"
"We're the ones who have to live here, now and forever," Horowitz added.
"If [Zoffinger] is so concerned about us, why has the financial impact analysis never
been made public? How come they never did a traffic analysis? Why wasn't the environmental
impact statement already done by now? Yet he continues to try to perpetuate this notion
that it's Hartz that's self-interested."
Hartz owns and manages the largest privately held commercial real estate portfolio in
the United States, including 200 properties and more than 35 million square feet of space
in the metropolitan area.
A hearing is scheduled in the Appellate Division of Superior Court on April 20. Hartz's
complaints include an assertion that Xanadu was improperly chosen because environmental
hearings on the plan had not been completed, and that the size of the retail component is
beyond the scope of the sports authority's permitted uses for the land.
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will play host to an environmental public hearing
about the Xanadu plan on April 30.
Source: The Record, Sunday, March 21, 2004
Xanadu proposal making progress
The Record, Saturday, August 30, 2003
After six months of negotiations, a developer's agreement has reached a stage where only
technical reviews by attorneys on both sides remain before the document is signed. The
board is expected to vote at its September 10th meeting.
The developer's agreement is a crucial document that outlines the financial details of
the privately funded project, offer a construction sequence - the entertainment projects
are expected to be built first - and allow Mills/Mack-Cali to complete deals with the
dozens of entertainment partners. Office construction may not begin for several years, but
an upturn in the commercial market could move that timetable forward. Mills' Xanadu pitch
left open the fate of the arena - a flexibility that has proved to be beneficial because
of the uncertain fate of the Nets and Devils.
The deal also would offer an updated site plan, explaining how the ambitious project
would fit on a site that might still include the arena.
A court challenge by losing bidder Hartz Mountain Industries remains as a possible
obstacle to construction beginning this year.
Secaucus-based Hartz contends that Xanadu, which it derides as a megamall because of
its 600,000-plus square feet of retail space, will create a traffic nightmare for the
Meadowlands region. Hartz also insists that Mills - a shopping center developer - has
misled the public by downplaying its retail plans.
Hartz also says the sports authority exceeded its powers by approving such a project
and that the selection process was flawed. It soon might argue those objections in a state
Hartz was told by a Superior Court judge in March that it should wait until the sports
authority had a deal with Mills/Mack-Cali before seeking a preliminary injunction against
the project. Both Hartz and Westfield recently lost an appeal that was heard in June
by sports authority attorney Arthur Winkler.
The sports authority chose Mills/Mack-Cali as its developers in February after receiving
six bids - two for NASCAR tracks - last summer. Hartz's Expo Park multi-use proposal
would have replaced the arena with a convention center, and Westfield's Arena Place plan
would have downsized the building to a 6,000-seat performing arts venue.
Environmental impact hearings are planned for October, but Mills' offer to donate 600
acres of land in Carlstadt if Xanadu becomes a reality may help its case with
If there are no further delays, the entertainment phase of the project could open as
soon as early 2006.
The selection of Mills was approved 9-2 in February, and acceptance of Winker's
findings presumably is a formality.
Source: The Record, Saturday, August
Continental Airlines Arena Site Redevelopment
With the intention of the Yankee Nets to move the Nets and Devils sports teams to
Newark, NJSEA requested proposals for the 104 acre Continental Airlines
Redevelopment. The project was narrowed from six to three bidders late November
2002, with the finalists being Xanadu's $1.3 billion proposal -- which appeared to be the
most ambitious. See details below.
In May 2001, Governor McGreevey endorsed a plan to have the state float bonds of $165
million towards the $355 million Newark arena, but by July met
overwhelming opposition in Trenton. Newark then parlayed a Newark Liberty Airport extension into the
seed money to revise the $355 million arena in October. The negotiations are bogged
There is controversy over moving the Nets and Devils sports teams from an outdated
facility to support Newark redevelopment. In a poll conducted by Public Mind/ FDU
from April 12-19, 2003, of 820 NJ registered voters, 61% called it a bad idea; 51%
said they would be less likely to attend an event in Newark while 17% said they would be
more likely to attend an event in Newark.
Traffic, lost tax revenue, and a fear that
existing businesses would be hurt by the Mills plan emerged as the main concerns expressed by mayors form
Secaucus to Elmwood Park. Little Ferry Councilwoman Roberta Henriquez said that the other
towns are going to get ratables -- what are we going to get, Traffic? Mayor Dennis
Elwell was partial to the Hartz proposal because it was more sports retail and
wouldn't compete with the existing retail. East Rutherford officials were concerned
about the effect on their municipal budget. The development would mean more sewage
treatment costs, more shoplifting cases in municipal court, more fire inspections and a
bigger police presence.
Bergen County Freeholder Richard Mola (and Mayor of Elmwood Park), believes that at some
time thy will change the plan and end up with a shopping mall. Others predict more
retail stores jamming southern Bergen roads just as Routes 4 & 17 are jammed by
shopping malls in Paramus.
The Mills decision may cost Carlstadt the tax revenues (estimated to be $12 million)
generated by a mall Mills had planned for the Empire Tract, but Mayor William Roseman
suggested that the borough would receive a substantial amount in lieu-of-tax payments.
Runner-up Hartz Mountain believes they have the best insight on how to support this region
which they have demonstrated over the last 35 years. With their partner Forrest
City, their plan was to create a convention center based complex. In February 2003,
citing their status as the single largest taxpayer within the Hackensack Meadowlands
District, they formally protested the designation of Mills to develop the site.
Hartz, which has substantial retail interest in Secaucus, has expressed concern that
nearly 600,000 square feet of retail space could harm nearby merchants. They also
suggest that the 1.6 million feet of entertainment space is really retail space in
disguise, and question the agency's authority to permit significant levels of retail and
the lack of public hearings. A hearing was scheduled for April 25, 2003.
Hartz sought a preliminary injunction halting the talks. Rulings by Judge Sybil Moses
meant the NJSEA can continue to negotiate a developers agreement for Xanadu. Hartz attempt
to have the court takeover jurisdiction over its protest of the bidding procedure was also
denied. Hartz argued that the NJSEA was a local authority while Moses stated it was a
state agency. A developers agreement is expected in May 2003.
Other challengers include Assemblypersons Charlotte Vandervalk (R-Montvale) and Alex
DeCroce (R-Parsippany-Troy Hills) who reviewed (charter) laws passed in the1970's, and
introduced legislation limiting retail space in the area to no more than 250,000 square
feet. Xanadu's plan lists 600,000 square feet, but Hartz insists the amount is
several times higher.
Westfield (proposed an urban village w/scaled down Continental Arena), protested declaring
that Xanadu would exceed the prescribed boundaries of the original request; that the minor
league baseball park is the dimensions of a little league field; and that Xanadu would
fill in an eight acres of tidal wetlands.
Green Party Assemblyman Matt Ahearn (Fair Lawn) considered proposing a bill blocking the
sports authority from making any substantial change with its agreement with Mills, it the
majority of the 14 towns in the Meadowlands district objected. But the Office of
Legislative Services issued an opinion on that bill, that the deal between NJSEA &
Mill is none of the Meadowlands towns' business. Ahearn stated that this confirms his
worst fears. The state created this particular beast and it's selling its own bonds,
it has it own obligations. The state created an animal that it can't control.
It is noted that the governor can block any sports authority action by vetoing the minutes
and could remove the agency's chief executive if he didn't approve of that official
No public meetings were held. Many legislators are concerned with environmental, mass
transit and revenue sharing. Area retailers feel threatened. The Committee for
a Better Meadowlands presented a petition of 2,300 local businesses to Assemblywoman
Rose Marie Heck (R-Hasbrouck Heights), and Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto (D-Secaucus),
opposing the construction of a megamall in the Meadowlands.
A transit connection could benefit hundreds
of thousands of people, but it will also cost hundreds of millions of dollars -- who will
NJSEA founding member Ray Bateman expressed concerns about the project as "Gridlock
City". He stated that he did not believe that even mass transit can save the area from being
swallowed by the plan -- the development is too big for the site.
There is no mass transit money in the Mills plan, and they have been vague about their
willingness to contribute beyond the $65 million for infrastructure improvements.
Considering the billion dollar package and expected payouts, NJSEA is reluctant to ask for
additional mass transit money and suggested Trenton as a source. Assemblywoman Rose M.
Heck (R-Hasbrouck Heights)said, "I don't think at the present time that there;s any
money to pay for this. We'll basically in a state of emergency right now for
The Governor's office stated, "We should not be looking to the state coffers for help
a this point in time, although that doesn't mean that the state won't be committed to
helping to plan for mass transit at the site.
Rep. Steve Rothman suggested that it would be poor planning and irresponsible to choose a
project that assumes the state or federal government would provide several hundred million
dollars and that the redevelopment would have to be self-sufficient regarding
With a developers agreement and groundbreaking expected soon, NJSEA believes the project
should be started before mass transit plans are in place. According to NJSEA's
traffic consultant Edward and Kelcey, $65 million in road improvements will take care of
potential traffic headaches. This idea of breaking ground before a transit plan is in
place concerns local legislators form both parties. They are skeptical that the new
service roads and changes to Route 120 will be sufficient to handle the expected increased
Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) stated that the whole Bergen delegation on a
bipartisan basis supporting the idea of a rail link. There is a lot of work to do on
Assemblywoman Heck thinks Xanadu is a potential gold mine for the developer and wants it
to ante up for most of the mass transportation costs. And many of her colleagues agree.
George Zoffinger, President of the NJSEA said, "It's time for people to stand up and
acknowledge that the biggest mistake in the history of the Meadowlands was not getting
mass transit in here when we started 30 years ago. Let's get united. Let's
produce a plan. Let's get it done".
The Assembly light rail panel sponsored a Meadowland mass transportation summit April 14,
2003 to address mass transportation concerns. The NJSEA stated that it wants a
consensus for one rail plan, then push for funding.
The Hackensack River Keeper was created in
1997 to protect and defend the environmental quality of the eco-system of the Hackensack
River area. Working with the Hackensack Meadowlands Partnership, they have been
discussing with the NJSEA and each of the three finalists of the redevelopment site.
Riverkeeper Capt. Bill Sheehan stated that they have meticulously evaluated each
proposal. Mills donating the Empire Tract would allow the property to be deeded to
the Meadowlands conservation Trust, ensuring permanent preservation. The Riverkeeper
has consistently opposed any plans to fill the 600 acre wetlands tract.
The Riverkeeper fully supports the upcoming environmental review process. It will be
a joint effort with the Riverkeeper, NJ DEP and Meadowlands Commission. All involved
say they are committed to preserving the remaining 7,000 acres of marshes within the
About the Empire Tract: It is the largest piece of unbroken open space in the Meadowlands
It's natural drainage patterns and links to the Hackensack River were long ago severed by
tide gates turning a teeming marsh into dry land covered with non-native reeds prone to
catching fire. Mills will give the state $25 million for restoration. The tract
could become part of the 8,400 acre ecological part the Rep. Steve Rothman proposes.
It was Mills suggestion of turning the Empire Tract into a wetlands mitigation bank.
Such operations turn wetlands into "Credits" which can be sold to
developers who need the right to fill in wetlands on other properties. Mill bid said
the state could sell more than $88 million in credits. Environmentalists panned the
idea and are opposed to anything that would damage wetlands or to preserver one property
only to allow marches to be paved elsewhere.
NJSEA's George Zoffinger said the conservation groups "have a seat at the
Environmentalists were unhappy that Mills would might be allowed to fill in the eight acre
Cedar Creek wetlands for Harrods Department Store, H&M Clothing Store and a 500 room
hotel. The Riverkeeper said that the swamp is protected by a 1972 court case. Mill
spokesperson said the the Empire Tract was an adequate trade-off, but that their
development plans are not contingent on the property
A Record Editorial (2/13/03) expressed concerns over the following:
Traffic: Avoiding making highways Route 3 & Turnpike into parking lots --
citing Exit 7/Great Adventure and NY thruway Harriman Exit/Woodbury Commons.
Shopping: With a bevy of attractions critics fear the plan could become a
mega-mall. Should an attraction fail, there would great pressure to convert the
facility to stores.. A covenant should be included to prevent this from happening.
Sunday Shopping: Agreements should be made to abide by Bergen County Sunday blue
Environment: Mills has promised to address all major environmental
The editorial also credited Mills deeding the Empire Tract and promised $25 million
towards restoring the trash-riddled property. This could help Rep. Steve Rothman's
proposed 8,400 acre nature refuge become a reality.
A Herald News Editorial (2/13/03) expressed concerns over the following:
The lack of public input. There should have been general public meetings to present
its case before the NJSEA board voted. The public has the right to question the size of
the project and its impact on the environment, traffic and the surrounding shopping
The state has a history of buying into grand ideas that promise reduced taxes and
increased revenues -- "we have all been down that E-Z Pass lane before".
There is still no deal on a Newark Arena. There are no guarantees that the regional
economy will be able to sustain Xanadu, or any other large scale redevelopment in the
There was concern over the NJSEA's board
members lack of local roots. A nine-member advisory committee, made up of people who live
and work in Bergen County, provided input & local officials were invited to briefings.
NY Giants, the largest Meadowlands Sports Complex tenant, endorsed the plan in December
Leaders of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce applauded the decision.
Although few members are downtown businessmen, they felt the fear of Mills gobbling up
local downtown's is unfounded and their track record for developments have been ancillary
Record, February 9, 12, 13, 17 & 22, 2003; April 3, 29, 2003
The Leader, February 27, 2003
Herald News, February 13, 2003
Previous Proposals before Xanadu concept was selected
NJSEA committee picks Xanadu 2/11/03. Board
officially decided about 2/12/03
Next step: developers agreement of this 104 acre site could take months.
Click for larger image
Xanadu Package Overview
The Mills Corporation (Arlington,
VA), and Mack-Cali Realty Corporation (Cranford, NJ)
Xanadu is visually compelling multi-use attraction incorporating family entertainment,
office, and hotel uses. The diverse components will intensify existing sports complex uses
and introduce new, related and complementary participatory sports and recreation uses,
entertainment and education venues, and complementary leisure uses.
Snow Dome Alpine ski resort with real snow, slopes, chair lift and lodge; Ice Place ice
skating and suitable for professional hockey and figure skating practice &
competition; Meadowlands Area YMCA w/swimming; indoor surfing, and extreme skate
park; UnderWater World Aquarium where you take a walk on the ocean floor; a wildlife
museum to get up close to local animals; a 8,000 seat stadium
for Bergen River Dogs lacrosse and the Bergen Cliff Hawks minor league baseball team;
Hooptown basketball courts; Formula One Indoor Racing for individuals, teams and leagues;
PBS Kids Pavilion with favorite characters in an interactive setting; Wannado where kids
learn by doing g in a city built to their size; House of Blues live entertainment; Cooking
school; Grand Movie Place; luxury spa; fine dining, and night life of Jillian's
arcade, bowling alley, billiard parlor.
Harrods Department Store,
H&M Clothing Store and hotel to located at Cedar Creek wetlands.
Xanadu's developers Mills Corp. and Mack-Cali say that the $1.3 billion project at the
Continental Arena site would feature 2.2 million square feet of office and hotel space, 2
million square feet for entertainment use, and 600,000 square feet for retail. A partial
list of the attractions:
Twenty-story indoor snow dome including ski lifts
- UnderWater World shark exhibit and seafood restaurant; 3,000-seat concert
- Resort-style spa, minor league baseball/lacrosse stadium
- ESPN Skate Park for "extreme" sports, such as BMX biking
- Wannado, a mini-city where children role-play at various occupations
- Indoor surfing wave pool and water park
- Formula One indoor motorsports park
- New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame
- New Jersey Music Hall of Fame
- Giant movie theater complex, with 30 or more screens and a film studio
- Wildlife museum
- Culinary institute, with broadcast studio and cooking school
- Farmer's market
- Fashion area with catwalks, live modeling shows, and European-style cafes
- Environmentally themed restaurant with working volcano
- Circus and clown school
Build and to sprawl across the arena site, over Route 120 and into the Giant
Stadium parking lot.
It will take about six years to develop.
- Size: 4.8 million sq.ft.; . 4.46 million square feet is split almost
equally between entertainment/retail (recreation & entertainment 1.5 mil. sq.ft.;
retail 700,000 sq.ft.), and office/hotel (offices: 1.7 mil. sq. ft in four buildings;
hotel: 500,000 sq.ft/520 rooms).
- Jobs - 13,000 permanent & 10,000 temporary; 6,000 to work in retail &
- Costs $1.2 billion;
- Annual NJ Revenues: $27 million in leases, $100 million in taxes/with a promise of $860
million in overall tax revenues during the first 10 years.
-Economic impact by 2012 estimated at $2.3 billion per year
The proposal offers a $160 million lump-sum payment upon sighing the developers agreement
in lieu of payments for the first 15 years of a proposed 75 year lease. ($160 million just
happens to be the remaining debt of the Arena site. NJSEA said the savings on
interest payments would be $250 million for the authority and taxpayers.)
The Mill plan promises a tenfold increase in tax payments to East Rutherford, as well as
the 13 other Meadowlands towns.
Mills Corp. to give 600 acre Empire Tract for state preservation; $65 million pledge
towards roadway & infrastructure improvements; Promise of $860 million in revenues
during first 10 years of operation; and flexibility of leaving Continental Arena intact if
Mills stated that it will not try to overturn Bergen County's' blue laws.
Mack-Cali would develop the 1.8 million square feet of office space and a hotel.
Previous to this decision ...
Continental Airlines Arena site Redevelopment
With the intention of the Yankee Nets to move the Nets and Devils sports teams to
Newark, NJSEA's President George Zoffinger sent out request for proposals to more than 100
businesses nationwide early last summer.
In response to the Master Developer Request for Proposals, the New Jersey Sports &
Exposition Authority [NJSEA] on about October 1, 2002,
held a presentation to include an overview of the proposals followed by discussions on
general land use, convention center, transportation, environmental impact and other
concerns. [Proposal overviews & illustrations]
The project was narrowed from six to three bidders late November 2002, with final offers
due Dec. 30, 2002. NJSEA finalists were
[Mills Xanadu, Arlington
VA] [Hartz Expo, Secaucus NJ] [Westfield
Arena Place, Sydney Australia]
New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
The NJSEA consist of a 14 member unsalaried board. Eleven of the 14 seats are set
aside for members of the public who are appointed for four years by the governor.
The other three seats are reserved who serve by their official position.
There are two vacancies, and 12 participated in the voting process. Nine voted for Xanadu,
two voted against (Ray Bateman & Candace Straight), and Susan Bass Levin abstained
(citing state oversight role as Chairwoman, NJ Meadowlands Commission).
There is concern over the boards lack of local roots. A nine-member advisory committee,
made up of people who live and work in Bergen County, provided input & local officials
were invited to briefings.
The board's role is to confirm the choice of a four-member subcommittee (Forgione,
Schmelzer, Goldberg and Zoffinger), and it requires only seven votes for the boards
|Carl Goldberg, Chairman
||Real estate developer
|Susan Bass Levin
||Cherry Hill, Camden
NJ Meadowlands Commission
|George Zoffinger, President
||Banking & real estate
||Real estate developer
||Real estate developer
|Candace Straight, Vice Chair
||Banker, Ocean Co. politician
|Joetta Clark Diggs
||Former Olympic track star
||North Branch, Somerset
||Former NJ Senate president
||Scotch Plains, Union
The Xanadu Experience -- www.meadowlandsxanadu.com
Web-site was re-launched August 2004 and provides more details
Official ground breaking was scheduled for September 2004