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Mitchell aiming to end the battle over NYSCC.

The battle to build a stadium on the West Side continued this week, with the MTA and the Jets agreeing to arbitrate the land deal and the football team announcing they will build a redesigned New York Sports and Convention Center.

"Over the last several days, the MTA and the Jets have advanced their discussions with regards to the value of the western rail yards, located between 11th and 12th Avenues, and 30th and 33rd Streets," said Jets President Jay Cross. "At this time, we have not come to an agreement about what the value is. In an effort to determine the fair market value of the air rights, the Jets and the MTA have agreed to pursue a binding arbitration process led by Senator George Mitchell. We look forward to beginning that process."

State lawmakers served the MTA with subpoenas late last month, demanding to see a secret appraisal of the stadium site that the agency will only show to the Jets, according to published reports. The MTA values the land at $300 million, say the reports. The State Assembly held public hearing February 3 where the MTA released the appraisal.

The New York Jets appraisal concluded that based on the highest and best use of the property the fair market value is $36.9 million, which the assumption that the Jets will also pay $315 million for the construction of the platform over the yards.

"Despite the conclusions of the appraised fair market value, we made a best offer to pay $100 million to the MTA for the development rights for the NYSCC, three times the fair market value based on the highest and best use." Cross said.

Community organizations are angered over the Jets offering.

"It is outrageous that the Jets want to deduct the cost of the platform from the amount they will pay to the MTA," said a press release from The Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards Alliance. "It is doubly outrageous that the Jets only plan to compensate the MTA a portion of the full value of the West Side Rail Yards."

To address concerns about the stadium's design, the New York Jets also unveiled a redesigned Sports and Convention Center this week, which address specific concerns raised during the public review process, from the scale of the building to its assimilation into the future community.

Among the changes, the building's height has been dramatically reduced--by more than 10 stories. A new destination retail corridor is now planned along 11th Avenue--the new main entranceway to the NYSCC--and an enhanced public space has been established. The building's steel facade has been replaced with a glass veil.

The Jets worked in partnership with the Municipal Arts Society to move the main entrance to 11th Avenue and 32nd Street. As a result, the NYSCC will culminate in an east/west corridor that MAS envisions will one day stretch from the Farley Building to the Hudson.

A new 60 foot high grand entryway on 11th Avenue will become a window from 32nd Street onto the field and the River beyond.

"I am pleased by this dramatic redesign of the NYSCC and believe it goes a long way to addressing concerns raised by the community, concerned citizens and the City Planning Commission," said City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden.

"The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has called the New York Sports and Convention Center 'a significant architectural anchor for the development of the Far West Side,'" said Rick Bell, Executive Director of the New York Chapter of the AIA.

The redesign reduces the height and bulk of the structure by 120 feet; greatly enlarges 11th Avenue's area for pedestrian circulation by setting back the interior walls 15 feet and creating a dramatic new public space; establishes a destination retail complex, and a television broadcast studio; and replaces the exterior steel structure with a floating glass veil emphasizing the building's relationship with the waterfront.

The main entrance has been moved from the north side of the building to 32nd street to offer a long vista from the stadium to the east into the surrounding community and to the west towards the waterfront.

Pedestrians will be drawn to the entrance of the building because the spectacular glass veil peaks at its highest and most transparent point, creating a "fold" through which one can see all the way down the entire length of the football field to the riverbed.

As pedestrians approach the stadium, they will be drawn into the fold, a vast public space that funnels underneath the structure into the entrance.

The vestibule flows 80 feet into the structure, an urban zone featuring public and retail space.

Similarly, from the west facade, a reciprocal portal has been created to give ferry passengers and pedestrians an unobstructed visual axis from the river to the city.

Led by architect Bill Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox, the design team includes wayfinding designer Bruce Mau of Bruce Mau Design; lighting designer Herve Descottes of L' Observatoire; and interior designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg.

"The new design envelops the building in a glass veil as an ephemeral gesture to the city while simultaneously heightening its vibrancy and drama along 11th Avenue," said Pedersen. "The outer veil hovers above the inner structure floating above the ground without ever touching it."
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Title Annotation:New York Sports and Convention Center
Author:Nelson, Barbara
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Feb 9, 2005
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