Jets Stadium, or MSG Project?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said over and over again that the city’s chances for landing the 2012 Olympics hinges on an expensive stadium on NYC’s West Side. As zero hour closed in, Madison Square Garden made things a lot more interesting.

MSG owner Cablevision has upped the ante in its battle with Bloomberg over the facility, which would be built on a platform above the city’s railyards and likely compete with the Garden for lucrative events.

Since the proposed Olympic stadium would double as a new venue for pro football’s New York Jets, the team has committed approximately $800 million to the project, including $300 million to purchase the property from NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority. MSG recently offered the MTA twice that amount.

The MTA has faced sharp criticism for putting the property on sale for less than the $330 million estimated value. The MSG offer reportedly includes the cost of a $250 million deck above the 13-acre site.

Instead of a football/Olympic stadium, MSG would build a “dynamic mixed-use community” that would include a hotel, housing, recreation, entertainment and office space, complementing the Javits Convention Center, according to The New York Times.

“This is the first indication we have received from Madison Square Garden, after months of public discussion, that they are interested in our property,” MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said. “We will review the proposal.”

It didn’t set well with the Jets or Bloomberg’s office. Team spokesman Matt Higgins called the offer a “desperate ploy and a PR gimmick by a company that will do anything to hold onto its monopoly.”

Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff called it a “desperate, last-minute attempt to derail a project” that would bring $1 billion in tax revenue, along with the Olympics.

Bloomberg believes the stadium is tantamount to landing the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, and the International Olympic Committee is about to arrive in town to assess the city’s proposal. Bloomberg hopes to demonstrate to the IOC that the stadium is a virtual certainty, the Times said.

The cost was originally $1.4 billion, but the team recently announced a streamlined version of the facility. Jets president Jay Cross declined to reveal a new price tag.