NFL’s Billion Dollar Baby

Site plans for the National Football League’s first stadium jointly constructed by two teams were announced by New Jersey’s acting governor and reps of the New York Giants and Jets December 12th. The proposed $1 billion, 81,000-seat stadium will be part of East Rutherford, N.J’s Meadowlands Sports Complex, which includes the Xanadu sports-entertainment center.

While the teams are still working out design details, including whether or not to build a retractable roof, the stadium is expected to be completed by 2010. It will be constructed between Giants Stadium, where both teams currently play, and the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The state is not contributing to the cost of the stadium, but is kicking in about $225 million worth of infrastructure improvements including a rail station and road upgrades within the sports complex.

“A year ago, everyone said this deal was impossible to get,” acting New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey said. “Today, without question, New Jersey taxpayers have the best deal in NFL history.”

Both teams announced the project in September after the Jets’ plans for a stadium on Manhattan’s West Side fell through. The Giants had been planning to build a stadium by themselves.

The projected cost of the stadium has risen since September when it was estimated at $800 million.

“We hope it’s not too far north of a billion, but it’s not too far away,” Jets President Jay Cross said.

Preliminary plans call for an atrium consisting of a Football Hall of Fame, team stores for the Jets and Giants, football-themed dining, and conference space.

They also envision a future retail component of more than 500,000 square feet south of the stadium that would link it with the $1.3 billion Xanadu retail-entertainment complex that’s already under construction nearby.

The teams hope to file a final master plan next year and begin construction in 2007.