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Giants, Jets unveil new stadium design

BY STEVE ZIPAY

steve.zipay@newsday.com

September 6, 2007

John Mara's mother, Ann, brought what can only be considered an artifact in the high-rent district of sports these days: a shovel used in the 1972 groundbreaking for Giants Stadium.

Mara, the Giants' president and chief executive officer, told her that the politicians, NFL executives and well-wishers gathering just outside the shadow of that stadium yesterday wouldn't be needing that particular implement.

In the 21st century, when grandiose pro sports palaces are rising from parking lots like wildflowers in New York and across America, the emblems of rebirth have changed: Yesterday's was a long steel beam, autographed by the key movers and shakers in this endeavor, to be mounted above the dazzling entrance of the $1.3-billion, 82,500-seat as yet unnamed stadium that will house the Giants and Jets, with the scheduled opening in 2010.

Perhaps the more appropriate symbol was to the left of the stage of dignitaries: an oversized, high-definition screen that displayed architects' sketches of the stadium, with its color-shifting exterior, concession-filled concourses dotted with video displays, stores selling team merchandise and state-of-the-art luxury suites.

Commerce, after all, is the end game.

Behind the stage, bulldozers plundered part of five parking lots between the current stadium and the racetrack, preparing the land for the eight-story, open-air stadium that will be the first in the NFL to host two teams.

"My only hope is that we are done on time and on budget," said New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, whose predecessor, Richard Codey, did most of the peacemaking and heavy lifting between the ownerships, who preferred their own homes.

In 2005, Codey finally brokered a 50-50 joint venture between the teams, with some subsidies from the state, to finance the project. The cost estimate at that time was $800 million. The teams since obtained a $300-million loan from the league that will be repaid from revenues gleaned from club seats, of which there will be 9,200.

The rectangular-shaped venue, rounded at the corners, has an outer shell of aluminum louvres that can be illuminated in the colors of whichever team is playing. "When Jets fans arrive, they will come to a stadium that bleeds green - literally," Jets owner Woody Johnson said. A 400-foot-long, 40-foot-high "Great Wall" at the main entrance will project the appropriate logos, highlight footage and historical images.

In fact, it appears fans will be surrounded - and presumably entertained - by visuals and sound.

A 40 x 130-foot video screen will be located in each corner of the stadium.

A 300,000-square-foot outdoor plaza will encircle the stadium.

A dozen 16 x 9-foot high-definition video screens will be scattered through the seven concourses.

There will be more than 200 suites, up from the current 117.

Officials said a revamped traffic pattern, with new loop systems, access lanes that increase from 16 to 42, and reconfigured parking lots would ease congestion. About 27,500 parking spaces will be provided.

Additionally, a new rail facility will link the stadium to Manhattan's Penn Station. "For our fans on the LIRR, they'll get here in 20 minutes from Penn Station," Johnson said.

Beyond the amenities, the teams have not decided whether fans will need to purchase personal seat licenses. Traditional tailgating will be maintained in some parking lots.

Besides a minimum of 20 NFL games, Mara said, he anticipates another 80 events - concerts, soccer matches, college football games - will be booked annually.

For those dates, the chameleon-like exterior and stadium entrances will be electronically transformed to reflect specific events - a visit from Manchester United or a rock band. No shovels required.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.

New Stadium

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Stadium gets green light

BY GARY MYERS

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Thursday, September 6th 2007, 4:00 AM

     

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Artist renderings of new stadium that will be shared by Jets and Giants (above and first two below).

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The early stages of construction of the new stadium.

Jets owner Woody Johnson says when the new $1.3 billion stadium being built by the Jets and Giants at the Meadowlands opens on his team's 50th anniversary in 2010, they finally will have a place to call home.

When the Jets played at the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium in the '60s, '70s and early '80s, they were "visitors," Johnson said. Then they became "tenants," he said, when they moved into Giants Stadium in 1984. Now they are co-owners and equal partners with the Giants of the new 82,500-seat stadium being built between Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack after Johnson's dream of the West Side Stadium in Manhattan failed in 2005.

"This is going to be a fabulous facility, a world-class facility," Johnson said yesterday at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Thanks to technology, it will have the feel of Giants Stadium when the Giants are home and Jets Stadium when the Jets are home. Of course, to help offset the cost, it won't be named after either team since naming rights will be sold.

Lighting will make green the predominant color for Jets games and blue for Giants games. The eight-level aluminum louvered exterior will be lighted in team colors. A 40-by-400-foot "Great Wall," located through the main entrance, will switch from pictures of Giants to Jets depending on which team is home.

And with the Jets relocating their headquarters to Florham Park in New Jersey, the long commute on game day from Long Island will be over. "It will absolutely be Jets on a Jets game day and be blue on Giants days," Johnson said.

Every game up to now, Johnson said, has been "essentially a road game." There might still be the perception that the Giants are the team more closely associated with the Meadowlands because they arrived eight years earlier, but the teams are 50-50 partners.

"When Jets fans come to this stadium for their home games, the building is going to look green and feel more like a home field for them than any building they've ever been in," Giants co-owner John Mara said.

Some stadium features:

A new rail facility will leave fans at the stadium. It will be a 20-minute ride from Penn Station.

The parking lots are being redesigned, and the 16 existing highway and road access lanes are being increased to 42 with infrastructure improvements. There will be inner and middle loop road systems to provide easier access.

It's anticipated the stadium will host 80 events per year in addition to Jets and Giants games. That will include soccer, college football and concerts.

Each of the four corners inside the stadium will have a scoreboard.

Neither team has decided if it will charge personal seat licenses.- Gary Myers

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