Kathleen Donovan Tees-Off, Says Teams Selfishly Want To Stop Development

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Giants and Jets don’t want it. Neither do the residents.

But on Tuesday a prominent leader said New Jersey desperately needs the mega-mall once  known as “Xanadu.”

And this madness at the Meadowlands is taking an especially nasty turn, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

It’s an ugly fight between the owners of the Giants and the Jets, whose teams play at nearby MetLife Stadium, and developers who want to turn the ugly building into a huge entertainment center.

Now, the woman in charge of Bergen County, where both buildings sit, has picked sides. County Executive Kathleen Donovan took shots at the teams’ owners.

“I think it’s two billionaires who want their own way and to stop the development in Bergen County,” Donovan said. “How dare they tell us how we’re going to help the people of this area and region.”

The teams have filed a lawsuit to stop the expansion of American Dream, a huge entertainment complex that will replace the eyesore off of the New Jersey Turnpike in East Rutherford.

“We’ve got 9,000 construction jobs and 12,000 permanent jobs dependent on the finishing of American Dream at Meadowlands,” Donovan said.

American Dream mall

An artist’s rendering of what the Triple Five Group’s proposed new mall could look like. (Photo: Triple Five Group)

The owners of the Giants and Jets said they turned to the courts after unsuccessful negotiations with Triple Five Group, the developers of American Dream. They want to build amusement and water park next to the entertainment center, which is right across from the stadium where the Giants and Jets play their games.

In a statement, Giants co-owner John Mara said he’s concerned the center will cause more traffic, and that “we cannot allow any actions to negatively impact our fans’ commute, tailgating and game day experience.”

Sports fans Sloan spoke to agreed.

“I think the area is for the Giants and the Jets and they should leave it be. What they should do is get rid of that ski slope and put more parking spaces in,” said Marie Santora of Rutherford.

A spokesperson for American Dream disagrees, saying they’ll stand off against the Giants and Jets in court.

“They seem to be more concerned about the competition for the consumer dollar than they are about whether or not the facility is good for the people of New Jersey,” spokesman Alan Marcus said.

The entertainment complex itself is scheduled to be done in 2014. Developers said the lawsuit won’t delay the opening.

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