Sports authority demanding a review of Xanadu appearance
by Maura McDermott/The Star-Ledger
Tuesday March 18, 2008, 4:04 PM
Responding to complaints about the look of the Xanadu complex rising in the Meadowlands, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is demanding a show-and-tell by the project's architects.
The authority's board "has widespread concern with the current appearance
" of Xanadu, and expects a presentation by the project's architects at a public meeting on March 27, according to a letter from Carl Goldberg, chair of the board, to Larry Siegel, president of Meadowlands Xanadu.
Local residents and officials have complained about the project's blue-and-orange exterior, with state Senate President Richard Codey calling it "yucky-looking."
The developers also must submit plans for the proposed Pepsi-branded Ferris wheel, Goldberg wrote. The nearly 300-foot wheel would bear a 150-foot, electronic Pepsi sign, according to a $100 million sponsorship deal reached by developers and the soft-drink company.
However, the Pepsi deal cannot go forward unless the authority approves the design of the wheel and the sponsorship terms, Goldberg said today.
"We'll deal with the Ferris wheel and the sponsorship of the Ferris wheel as we've dealt with every other aspect of the project, with a thorough and complete review to make sure it's consistent with the original conceptual presentation," he said.
The $2 billion, two million-square-foot Xanadu retail and entertainment complex is expected to open in November. It is funded by Colony Capital, a private equity firm.
Richard Edmonds, a spokesman for the developer expressed confidence in the project's design today.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Edmonds said. "There were probably people who thought the Eiffel Tower was really ugly when it was being built. We love the design. Plus, it's a work in progress."