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HARRISON, NJ-In August, officials of the New York Red Bulls pro soccer franchise announced a September construction start for the team’s new long-awaited home stadium, and tomorrow the shovel finally hits the ground. A ceremony attended by public and private officials will officially start construction for the 25,000-seat Red Bull Park.

“There are three reasons we’re building the stadium here,” says Nick Sakiewicz, president of AEG New York, which co-owns the team and the stadium. “One is the soccer history. Two, it’s easy to get to. And three, the community really wants us. It’s awesome to finally be breaking ground.”

With the start of construction, team officials have also unveiled more detailed plans for the venue, which will also be used other sporting activities, concerts (with a seating capacity of 30,000) and special events. According to team officials, the glass and steel structure will have a roof covering all the seats, but not the playing field. It will also have a ring of luxury suites just a dozen rows from the field, and two private clubs when it opens in the summer of 2008. Until then, the team will continue to play its home games at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands.

Actual construction cost is $100 million, which co-owners AEG and beverage maker Red Bull are paying. The Town of Harrison, as reported by GlobeSt.com, has floated a $40-million bond issue guaranteed by Hudson County to pay for buying and cleaning up the former industrial site. And Hudson County is spending $80 million for a 1,500-car parking garage that will be used both for the stadium and for a nearby PATH light rail station. Adding it all up, the total price tag comes to approximately $220 million.

Red Bull Park will be a centerpiece for a larger redevelopment of industrial land along this city’s Passaic River waterfront. A project of the Bedminster-based Advance Realty Group that’s been in the works for several years, the estimated $1-billion redevelopment encompasses a master plan of 3,500 residential units, 300,000 sf of retail space and upwards of three million sf of class A office space.

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