By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
February 2, 2005
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils plan to sign redevelopment and lease agreements with the city on Wednesday to built a $310 million, 18,000-seat multipurpose arena and entertainment facility to open for the 2007-2008 NHL season.
Groundbreaking could occur by spring, Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said Tuesday night.
The Devils, who have not played this season because of a lockout, have called the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford home since moving from Colorado for the 1982-83 season.
The state's largest city and the Devils have been putting the final touches on the redevelopment and lease agreements for months.
A formal signing by the Devils, the city and its housing authority is planned for Wednesday at Newark City Hall at 1 p.m.
Newark is paying up to $210 million for the facility. The Devils will pay $100 million and handle any cost overruns.
The city's contribution will come from the proceeds of a lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Newark Liberty International Airport property.
The Devils' lease with the city would be for 30 years. The team's current lease with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to play at the Continental Airlines Arena expires after the 2006-07 season.
Under the lease agreement announced this summer, the city will get $2 million a year plus a percentage of luxury box and naming rights revenue from the arena, which will be built at Broad and Market streets just west of the train station.
I know some fans of the Devils in Central and South Jersey and now way they will make the trip to Newark. It is a mistake!
Unless they build an adjacent, fenced-in parking area, this simply will not work.
I am a huge minor league baseball fan, and I tried to go a Newark Bears game last summer. It was a friggin' disaster. The entire area is under construction and it took over an hour to get into the parking deck once I reached the stadium area. Then you have to walk through a terrible maze of streets in an awful neighborhood to get to the stadium and listen to all of the "locals" hurl comments at your wife as you hustle on through.
I know people are doing all they can to paint Newark as a "Renaissance City," but I have given that city a try -- at the ballpark and at NJPAC. Right now, the city does not have the "infrastructure" to attract visitors.
Newark was a great place to go when I was 18 years old and delivered TVs there and visited the Ironbound section for Portuguese food (and didn't worry about my car). It's not a place for a family.