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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ-In late September the NFL’s New York Giants and Jets franchises announced they would team up to build a new stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex here. Both are tenants of the existing, state-owned Giants Stadium, which was built in the ’70s. And yesterday, officials of both teams, along with state officials, announced a preliminary site plan for the new venue.

The plan incorporates elements both teams were on record for: The stadium itself is basically what the Giants wanted, while the mixed-use development around it is mostly in the ballpark for what the Jets wanted. The project’s cost has been estimated in the $800-million range.

“Over the past few months, we have made significant strides,” Jets’ owner Woody Johnson said at yesterday’s announcement. “We believe that our partnership with the Jets will produce the premier stadium in the NFL,” added Giants’ COO John Mara.

By the numbers, the site plan calls for an 81,000-seat stadium, about 3,000 more seats than the current stadium, on a 700,000-sf footprint between the existing stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack. The facility will also have a hall of fame for the two teams, plus team stores, themed dining, and club/banquet and conference space.

The plan also calls for 520,000 sf of mixed-use space, including retail stores, entertainment, sports medicine, health and fitness and broadcast outlets. The site’s parking lots and access roads will also reconfigured, and a new tailgating zone will be set aside, linked to the stadium through pedestrian connections. And the whole thing will be linked to the Meadowlands Xanadu, the Mills Corp. and Mack-Cali project for which site work is currently under way surrounding the sports complex’s Continental Airlines Arena.

Finally, the plan calls for a new rail facility operated by NJ Transit. “One of the greatest components of the new complex will be the rail access,” says Jets’ president Jay Cross.”This entire agreement is truly a win for New Jersey,” says Acting Gov. Richard Codey, in a written statement. “It will anchor the overall revitalization of the Meadowlands. These plans will create thousands of new jobs, fuel the economy, support the community and provide fans with something to cheer about.”

Under the previously announced terms, the two teams’ agreement with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, a state agency, runs for 99 years, with the NJSEA ceding operating control of the stadium to the teams. The Giants and Jets will split the stadium’s revenues equally. The NFL itself will contribute at least $150 million to the project’s cost, with the two teams dividing the rest. The NJSEA has agreed to pay $30 million toward the infrastructure improvements.

The schedule calls for a final master plan to be submitted to the NJSEA next year, with construction expected to start in 2007. The aim is to have the stadium open in time for the 2010 football season.

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