The Olympics torch may still be smoldering in Salt Lake City, but proponents of a new football stadium in the Big Apple are hoping that the prospect of hosting the 2012 Summer Games this spring will light a fire under local officials.
Currently housed in Giants Stadium across the Hudson River in New Jersey, the New York Jets are so bent on returning to the city that they are ready to put up $600 million for a new facility on the west side of Manhattan's waterfront near the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had hoped to finalize the deal with the team before leaving office Dec. 31, but time ran out. New Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who has been cold to other Giuliani leftovers — apparently has warmed to the Jets project because it is viewed as a key component to the city's Olympics bid. In fact, his deputy mayor, Dan Doctoroff, had previously overseen the city's 2012 effort and has long backed the project.
"He's very positive about the stadium," says architect Trent Tesch, associate principal for local lead designer Kohn Pedersen Fox. "I'm very optimistic that this will go forward. ... The city really needs this shot in the arm."
"An incredibly organized owner," according to Tesch, the Jets already have assembled a high-powered local building team that includes mechanical engineer Flack + Kurtz and structural engineer Thornton-Tomasetti. The Chicago office of London-based environmental engineer Battle McCarthy is responsible for the project's master planning.
All expect a deal soon between the Jets and the city, well in advance of a key June audience with the International Olympics Committee. The IOC will not officially choose the site for 2012 games until 2005, but Tesch says it is important that New York City demonstrate in June that its bid is still on track.