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Carlstadt Wants Xanadu Stopped
Xanadu Overview
[Link] to original proposals

New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority [NJSEA]



Carlstadt Moves To Block Xanadu And Save Wetlands

By Joan Gralla, Reuters - 10/20/2004

New Jersey's $1.3 billion Xanadu project hit a new obstacle yesterday as Carlstadt, the town where it will be built, said it asked the Army Corps of Engineers to issue a stop work order.

Carlstadt also asked the Army Corps to refuse to grant the developers, Mills Corp. and Mack-Cali Realty Corp., one of the last permits needed before full-scale construction can begin.

Xanadu, an entertainment complex that includes indoor skiing and a 30-foot chocolate waterfall, is to be built in the Meadowlands, just west of New York City. The area is prized for its wetlands and protected species.

Almost from the start, Xanadu has faced lawsuits filed by rival developers, and most recently, the local Sierra Club.

Carlstadt charged that the state Department of Environmental Protection had failed to force the developers to provide the "meat behind the application" -- the information the agency needed to conduct a thorough review.

Spokesmen for Xanadu, the Army Corps and the Department of Environmental Protection were not immediately available.

Xanadu is to be built in the parking lot of the Continental Airlines Arena, where the Nets and Devils now play.

Carlstadt said the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns the site, should instead use the parking lots of nearby Giant Stadium, where the Giants and Jets play.

That would save seven acres of wetlands that now stand to be filled in, said Stuart Lieberman, a lawyer who represents Carlstadt.

"They (the state) never really did an alternatives analysis," he added.

Other problems include Xanadu's impact on traffic in an area already known for its congestion and poor air quality.

Xanadu's critics also note New Jersey has given up its share in the project's profits for at least 15 years. That is partly because the developer invested $127 million at another site. Xanadu has to earn at least that amount before the state shares in the profits.

The developers will pay New Jersey $160 million, according to Jim DeBosh, a spokesman for the state agency that owns the land. But the state will give them $27 million to buy the first site, whose wetlands were considered too valuable to develop.

The $160 million will be paid out in three installments from Dec. 20, 2004, to April 20, 2005, DeBosh said.

But until 2006, the developers can get that money refunded if a lawsuit derails the project, DeBosh said.

Posted by admin on Wednesday, October 20 @ 04:54:26 PDT, Contributed by admin

Carlstadt urges engineers to deny permit for Xanadu

By Carolyn Feibel, The Record, Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Carlstadt officials have asked a federal agency to order Xanadu's developers to stop construction on the $1.3 billion entertainment, retail and office complex at the Continental Arena site.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing a permit that would allow developer Meadowlands Mills/Mack-Cali Limited Partnership to bulldoze seven acres of wetlands for Xanadu. Stuart Lieberman, the borough's special counsel, has asked the corps to deem that permit incomplete and issue a stop-work order until appropriate traffic and air-quality studies are finished.

The corps' permit is the final regulatory hurdle for the developer, which is a partnership of the Mills Corp. and Mack-Cali Realty Corp.

"They really are the final agency who can do the right thing in this case," Lieberman said of the corps. "They can say the heck with the politicians, the heck with the deals, the heck with the money, there's no way we are going to destroy the Meadowlands for a megamall."

Carlstadt officials have already sued the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to stop the project, which they fear will increase traffic and pollution in the area.

Mills spokesman Bob Sommers said Carlstadt's protests are too late. The public-comment period for the wetlands permit ended Sept. 7.

"This is kind of late in the game," Sommers said, adding that Mills was addressing environmental concerns raised at a public hearing on Aug. 26 and by the corps.

Mills expects to answer the agency's questions about the permit in about a week, he said.

Sommers said Carlstadt was collaborating with Hartz Mountain Industries and the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, which have also filed lawsuits to stop Xanadu.

"The only thing that is missing are the strings from Hartz and the Sierra Club moving the lawyer's hands across the page," Sommers said.

The Sierra Club's executive director, Jeff Tittel, denied working with Carlstadt or Hartz. Allen Magrini, a vice president for Hartz, also denied helping Carlstadt with its legal challenge.

Lieberman said that Carlstadt plans to appeal the state's decision to issue permits for Xanadu, probably by the end of this week.

"Our job is not to make it easy for them," Mayor Will Roseman said. "I think there is widespread disapproval for not just the project but the way it is being done in an underhanded way."

Roseman said he'd like to start a coalition with other municipal officials who are concerned about Xanadu.

Source:  The Record, October 20, 2004


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