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Join our fight to Stop the Xanadu Ferris Wheel...
before it's too late.
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You Just Can't Hide the Ugly

Doblin: They can’t see the bar code for the trees
Alfred Doblin - Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Record online,

I WORKED in Detroit in the late 1980s. There was a monorail that circled the city. It was called the People Mover. Tourists, the few that came downtown, loved it. City officials didn’t want tourists to see how desperate downtown Detroit had become. The remedy they devised was to paint the windows of all the abandoned downtown buildings that hugged the monorail with fake images of habitation.
Imagine a life-sized Lionel train setup. But painted curtains and painted people on the windows of abandoned buildings didn’t fool anyone over the age of six. Well maybe a few older folks. And I expect those are the people who believe planting 358 trees around the still-not-ready-for-prime-time-mega-entertainment complex called Xanadu will improve the aesthetics of North Jersey’s biggest eye-sore.

Start in the Right Direction

Pepsi wheel postponed at least a year
Corey Klein - Wednesday, April 29, 2009
South Bergenite online,

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority reports construction of the Pepsi Globe, due to open in June, has been placed on hold. Promising to be the country's largest observation wheel, right here in the Meadowlands, the Pepsi Globe would be a major attraction at Xanadu.
At its April 29 meeting, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) President Carl Goldberg said it would likely be another year before the wheel is up and running. Previous estimates slated an opening this June.
Construction on the wheel will likely not start until before or after the next National Basketball Association season, so it would not conflict with parking issues. The basketball season typically runs from October through April. Goldberg said it would not reasonably open until August 2010.

Shows up on the Radar

Xanadu project lands on 'Troubled Assets Radar' list
John Brennan and Andrew Tangel- Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Record online,

The Meadowlands Xanadu project has landed on a list any developer would surely prefer to avoid — the “Troubled Assets Radar” of Real Capital Analytics, a real estate research firm that analyzes the nation’s major markets.
The long-delayed retail and entertainment project has joined a “troubled” New York Metro list that includes the former Linens ‘n’ Things headquarters in Clifton, a Ridgefield Park office complex, and the failed Centuria project in Fort Lee.

Can You Hold Please...

Pepsi Globe delayed
John Brennan - Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Record online,

The 286-foot Pepsi Globe — a gigantic Ferris wheel planned as an iconic part of the Meadowlands Xanadu project — won’t become part of the North Jersey skyline for at least another year, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority officials said today.
Board members at their monthly meeting were told that erection of the observation wheel has been “placed on hold at this time.”
“We determined that the construction of the wheel either needed to be started and completed prior to the start of the next NBA season, or suspended until the next basketball season has been completed,” sports authority Chairman Carl Goldberg said. “The wheel won’t reasonably be open until August 2010.”

Show Me the Money

NJ's Xanadu: Lessons for Stimulus Spending?
Bob Hennelly - Tuesday, March 17, 2009
WNYC online,

NEW YORK, NY March 17, 2009 —Billions of dollars in federal stimulus aid is on the way to our region. But while local politicians are applauding the aid, many of the decisions about how the money will be spent will be made by public authorities largely operating out of public view. WNYC's Bob Hennelly takes a look back at the spending decisions surrounding one New Jersey transportation project and asks what lessons it holds for stimulus spending.
Since colonists laid eyes on the awesome beauty that is the Hackensack Meadowlands, this vast estuary has swallowed many get-rich quick schemes. Farmers tried to turn the swamp into farmland. In the industrial era, it became a magnet for toxic waste. By the 70s, public consciousness about the value of the 20,000-acre wetland region was growing. An eco-district was created to protect it. Even so, 750 acres were exempted and bestowed on something to be called the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA). It would build a racetrack, arena and stadium on site and ultimately go on to build and manage similar venues across the state.

Big Delay - Bad News for Them, Good News for Us!

NJ Xanadu project cites lender default for delay
Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Diane Craft - Friday, March 20, 2009
Reuters online,

NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - New Jersey's Xanadu project, a billion-dollar shopping and entertainment complex located just west of New York City in the Meadowlands, has been delayed again, this time due to a lender's default, a spokesman said on Friday.
"We are contemplating a new opening date beyond August 2009 and we have asked our contractors to refocus their work in line with that goal," said Tim White, a spokesman for the project, in a statement. Xanadu was supposed to open in 2007.

Will They Go Forward?

Codey questions Xanadu's viability
John Brennan - Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Record online,

State Senate President Richard Codey strongly questioned the viability of the struggling Xanadu project today, given the repeated delays in its opening as well as the downturn in the national economy.
“I think it’s a race to see which project is put in the grave first: the Brooklyn [Barclays] arena or Xanadu,” Codey said, referring also to the Nets’ long-deferred attempt to move out of the Izod Center. “Let’s be honest about it. … You have one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world, and it’s maybe 50 percent lined up with tenants — if we believe [Xanadu officials]. … Who knows if it’s going to open or not?”
Codey said people soon might be calling the Xanadu project “the mistake at the Meadowlands.”

Ugly on the Surface... and Below

Trouble beneath Xanadu
Jeff Pillets - Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Record online,

Workers at the Xanadu Meadowlands site have uncovered dozens of oozing drums, leaking fuel tanks, sunken pools of chemical-laced liquid and other hidden hazards since the project began almost four years ago.
The discoveries, recounted in a new report by a project engineer, show that contamination within the 104-acre Xanadu site has been widespread and will remain a concern even after the $2 billion shopping and entertainment center is due to open.

Back in the News

Lawmakers want hearings on Xanadu contamination
Jeff Pillets - Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Record online,

Republican lawmakers in Trenton joined with a prominent environmental group Thursday in calling for hearings regarding soil and water contamination at the Xanadu project.
“I am not surprised that the greatly troubled Xanadu entertainment complex is back in the news,” said Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, R-Somerset, a member of the Senate Environment Committee. “We cannot permit environmental contamination at this complex to threaten the health of thousands of employees and visitors expected at the site when it opens.”




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