EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today submitted to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority a master plan for a new stadium and entertainment complex to be built next door to the current Giants Stadium.
The centerpiece of the project is an 80,000-seat, privately-financed, open air football stadium which would be home to the Giants and, ideally, the Jets. In addition to housing the Giants' training and practice facilities and office space, the project will include retail stores and restaurants, as well as a Hall of Fame and team stores.
"Our goal is to create the premier sports and entertainment complex not only in the National Football League, but in the world of sports today," said John Mara, the Giants' executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The stadium and the practice facilities are expected to cost between $750-800 million.
The design by Ewing Cole of Philadelphia in conjunction with Hammes Company Sports Development, Inc. includes four levels of suites and 10,000 club seats, all situated on one side of the stadium. In addition to enjoying a traditional tailgating atmosphere, fans will have an opportunity to sample many football attractions, including the Hall of Fame and a themed stadium atrium, a football-themed sports bar with terraces overlooking the playing field, youth activities areas for Punt, Pass & Kick and the NFL Experience, plus pavilions with an array of live entertainment.
"Our plan focuses on the experiences of the many fans who have been loyal patrons of the Meadowlands for decades by providing both Giants and Jets fans with a unique environment in which to enjoy professional football and related activities," said Giants executive vice president Steve Tisch. "Our plan includes the most intimate new seating bowl in professional football, and gives new meaning to the term, 'home field advantage.' In addition, as the NJSEA and the state have requested, the new stadium has been designed to be 'roof ready' so that a retractable roof can be added at a future date."
Ideally, the Giants would move into the stadium for the 2009 season, through Mara said, "That might be very ambitious at this point."
Several hurdles must be cleared before construction can begin. The Giants must reach agreements with both the Jets and with Mills/Mack-Cali, who are building the $1.3 billion entertainment, recreation and retail complex adjacent to the stadium. "We are very close to a deal with Mills," said Mara.
The Giants are in continued negotiations with the Jets, who have their own plan for a stadium on the same site. "We would like to be 50/50 partners with the Jets in this project," Mara said. "Our intention is to conclude an agreement with Mills and to conclude an agreement with the Jets."
Joe Shenker, an attorney from Sullivan & Cromwell who represents the Giants, said issues to be resolved with the Jets include the makeup of the seating bowl (the Jets prefer to have the suites throughout the stadium, and not just on one side of the seating area) and the location of the Giants' practice facilities. "They don't want it to be on-site," Shenker said. "They prefer we be off-site,"
Mara said, "We've been operating out of the stadium for the last 30 years, and we'd like to continue to do that. We need a place to practice and we would like our practice facilities to be as close to our offices and locker rooms as possible."
The Giants have continuously modified and refined the plan to accommodate suggestions and requests made by the NJSEA and Mills/Mack-Cali. While Mara believes the plans announced today are best for all parties, he will continue to listen to all sides.
"We're willing to make reasonable adjustments to this based on suggestions from the Jets and the Sports Authority," Mara said.
Mara and Tisch have worked together for more than year to reach this point. They have been in constant negotiations with the Sports Authority, the state of New Jersey, the Mills Co., and the Jets. On April 14, Mara, Tisch, Governor Richard J. Codey and NJSEA Carl Goldberg signed a memorandum of understanding covering the development of the new stadium. The plan announced today establishes a comprehensive framework for that development.
"Our plan recognizes and extends the strong historical traditions of Giants and Jets football," Tisch said. "The plan matches these traditions with expanded fan amenities and themed attractions at the new stadium."