EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ-Upon further review, a deal for a new stadium complex for the Giants and Jets football teams has apparently been done. A deal had been cut last year for the $1-billion project, brokered by then-Gov. Dick Codey. But earlier this month, officials of the administration of new Gov. Jon Corzine said they were re-examining that deal, which was in the form of a memorandum of understanding and not a signed contract. Sticking points for the Corzine administration included tax revenues and the amount of public money going into the project, as well as whether the stadium would have a retractable roof. Officials of both teams said publicly that if they were required to pay for a roof, it would effectively kill the deal.
The apparently final agreement is essentially the same as the initial one, with some tweaking. According to a published report, the revised terms include the two teams paying the estimated $30 million worth of infrastructure improvements required for the project, which the state had originally agreed to pay. In exchange, the teams will have the right to sell the naming rights for the entire complex which, besides the 81,000-seat stadium includes 600,000 sf of retail space and restaurants. The initial deal gave the team the ability to sell the naming rights for just the stadium itself.
Finally, the state has apparently backed off its demand for the retractable roof, which would cost an estimated $300 million. Officials of both teams, as well as the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which owns the site and the current Giants Stadium, declined to comment. Sources say, however, that the formal announcement could come as early as today.
In a related development, the Jets have decided to make Florham Park their new headquarters and practice site. Capping a process that began with the team scoping out 40 locations around the Garden State, the Jets announced this morning that they had opted for the Morris County location over the four other finalists–Berkeley Heights, Jersey City, Millburn and Wood-Ridge.
The 20-acre site is within the 420-acre former ExxonMobil campus in Florham Park, currently owned by the Gale Co. and Rockefeller Group Development. The project will encompass a 110,000-sf headquarters and operations building, three outdoor practice fields and one indoor field, and its total cost has been put in the $30-million to $50-million range.
The Jets’ move from its current headquarters at Hofstra University on Long Island is part of the team’s stadium deal with the Giants and the NJSEA. The latter has agreed to buy the site, which carries an estimated price tag of $20 million, and lease it to the team. Pending completion of the sale, the HQ move could take place as early as the summer of 2007.
“After conducting a comprehensive search, we have concluded that the Florham Park site best fits our needs as an organization,” says Jets president Jay Cross. “But I also want to acknowledge the hard work of the other four cities who were finalists in our search.” The Jets’ complex is also expected to be the centerpiece of a larger redevelopment of the vacant ExxonMobil site, a project that is expected to encompass residential and office components and a hotel.