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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Governor Chris Christie has called it the ugliest building in America, and it may be the first structure people see when they come to the Super Bowl in New Jersey.
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported Tuesday, a push is on to change the outside of the building once called Xanadu.
Some call the structure along the New Jersey Turnpike next to MetLife stadium an eyesore, while others just say it’s weird.
“I don’t know what the ramp is,” said Richard Russell of Springfield.
The structure is supposed to be an outdoor ski slope.
But Russell called it “out of place; I don’t know what the colors are about.”
Added Theresa Casella of East Rutherford, “I drive past it every day, and can’t stand looking at it.”
Local and state officials are also tired of looking at the multicolored building, once called Meadowlands Xanadu and now known as the American Dream Mall Project.
They want a change in the façade of the building in time for the Super Bowl at MetLife in 2014.
“As part of the redo they’re going to change the outside,” said Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan. “That’s part of the agreement with Triple Five.”
The holdup seems to be a legal dispute between the Jets and Giants teams and Triple Five – the company that wants to turn the structure into an amusement and water park.
“Now, I know negotiations are close, but nothing will happen until that issue is rectified,” said East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella.
While the building looks ugly during the day, the mayor said it’s not so bad at nighttime when the lights are on. However, he said it is worth fixing before the Super Bowl – a game that’s played at night.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who wishes for the building to be there, but the longer the process is delayed, the more chance it will look like that,” Cassella said.
Triple 5 is looking for private and economic development authority money, as well as bonds through East Rutherford. The town took the first step Monday night, passing a resolution to create an agency that could look into issuing bonds in East Rutherford.
There are many complicated steps before the town can issue bonds, and as of now, nothing has been finalized.
But officials said the inside of the building could be used to host NFL parties or events.
Local officials said the teams and Triple Five may be close to a settlement, although neither side is talking about it.
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