$750 million stadium could debut in 2008

Updated: April 13, 2005, 9:56 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants reached an agreement Wednesday with the state of New Jersey that will allow the NFL team to build a new $750 million stadium in the Meadowlands.

A news conference was scheduled for 11 a.m. EDT Thursday to announce details.

A source close to the negotiations told The Associated Press that the deal was for 40 years, but included several options that could extend it to 98 years. It also called for the Giants to receive 75 acres of Meadowlands property -- the current stadium site is 28 acres -- and gives the team all money earned through the sale of naming rights.

The announcement by the governor's office followed several recent conversations between acting Gov. Richard J. Codey and John Mara, the Giants' chief operating officer. Just a month ago, the deal seemed dead.

Earlier Wednesday, Mara said if a deal could be struck quickly there was a slight chance the new stadium could be ready for the 2008 season.

"This is a good deal for New Jersey taxpayers," Codey said. "We're going to get a brand-new stadium with one of the best deals in the country."

The Giants have long offered to pay the entire cost of the stadium, which is rare in the NFL. But months of negotiations stalled last month due to Giants concerns regarding game day traffic from Xanadu, a $1.3 billion shopping and entertainment complex being built at the Meadowlands. The team also could not get the state to protect it from some future taxes.

Codey had pushed for a deal over the objections of George Zoffinger, chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. Zoffinger said Tuesday he will abide by Codey's wishes and "bring any deal the governor reaches to the board of the sports authority for a vote."

Zoffinger said he still had concerns that the $6.3 million in annual payments the Giants are expected to make to the state would not cover the annual debt on the current stadium, putting the burden on taxpayers.

Giants Stadium, owned by the state, opened in 1976, making it among the oldest in the NFL.

On April 5, the Giants filed a lawsuit to force New Jersey to make renovations to Giants Stadium and block Xanadu. The Giants said their lease gives them the right to sign off on all construction at the Meadowlands. A hearing is scheduled April 29.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press