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NYSCC facing uphill fight in battle to build.

Lawsuits aside, the Jets have made a successful drive and the only thing standing between them and the goalpost is the Public Authorities Control Board, which could prove harder than the last two state approvals for the team.

This week the Jets won the approval of the Empire State Development Corporation. "Today's action is another positive step in the New York Sports and Convention Center project," said Empire State Development Corp. Chairman Charles A. Gargano.

"This is an economic development project that will strongly enhance New York's ability to attract conventions and conferences."

The five-member PACB board, three of which vote, consists of Sen. John F. Cape, appointed by Gov. Pataki; Sen. Joseph Bruno, representative of Senate Majority, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, representative of Assembly Majority and two nonvoting members appointed by minority leaders.

Sen. Cape is expected to support the stadium. However, all PACB approvals must be unanimous. Sen. Bruno and Assemblyman Silver, who have remained neutral up to this point, must now show their colors.

The PACB was created in 1976 in response to the growing amount of Public Authority debt. The board may approve applications only upon its determination that there are commitments of funds sufficient to finance the acquisition and construction of such project.

Therefore the boards' decision may hinge upon the city and state's $600 million share of the cost of the stadium.

Both Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver have voiced misgivings about the stadium and have said that they will not consider the project until legal issues are resolved and the International Olympic Committee chooses an Olympic Host City in July, according to Kinsey Casey, a spokesperson for the Hell's Kitchen/ Hudson Yards Alliance, an organization strongly opposed to the stadium.

Another blow this week--Governor Pataki signed into law the Legislature's economic development budget for 2005-2006, which did not include the Governor's requested $300 million subsidy for the West Side stadium, which may be a reason enough for the PACB to decline their approval, since the state has no funds allocated for the project.

"With no subsidy in this year's budget, state funding for the stadium remains very uncertain," said Casey. "In addition, the Mayor's plan to finance the City's contribution to the stadium through PILOT money is being challenged by the Council."

The Jets also have to contend with legal issues including Cablevision's lawsuit, which will be heard May 3 in state Supreme Court. A decision is expected by May 10.

"Taking only minutes to consider a wildly unpopular football stadium plan which requires more than $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies is an outrageous rubber stamp by handpicked political appointees, which shows utter disregard for any public input from the taxpayers of New York," said a Madison Square Garden spokesperson about the EDC approval.

Both the Jets and the MTA have agreed to wait until the court decision to finalize the deal, according to published reports.
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Title Annotation:Construction & DESIGN; New York Sports and Convention Center
Author:Nelson, Barbara
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Apr 20, 2005
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