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Jets facing competition in bid for rail yards

NEW YORK (March 28, 2005) -- The New York Jets were outbid by Cablevision in their attempt to buy the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's rail yards and build a stadium on Manhattan's West Side.

The MTA released documents detailing the bids by three groups. A bid by Cablevision of $760 million includes $400 million in cash up front and the rest in a promise to construct a platform over the rail yards.

The Jets countered with a bid of $720 million, including at least $250 million in cash up front. The bid does not include the platform, estimated by the Jets at $350 million, which would be paid for primarily by the state and city.

TransGas Energy Systems offered the most for the site, $1.05 billion. But the energy company's bid has strings attached, including a proposed 40-year contract to provide energy for the MTA, and help in securing a site for a new power plant in Brooklyn.

Five bids were submitted to the MTA by last week's deadline, but two were immediately disqualified because they didn't meet bidding rules.

A decision by the MTA, which runs the nation's largest mass transit system, is expected April 1.

Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden, promises a 5-acre park and waterfront esplanade, 5,800 units of new housing, a hotel, a performing arts enclave, a public elementary school and a library. The Garden is just three blocks from the West Side rail yards.

The Jets' proposal includes illustrations of its plan to build a $1.7 billion football stadium, which also is key to the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

The bid was accompanied by letters of endorsement from the city's Olympic bid committee, its tourism marketing group and the National Football League. As a sweetener to the Jets' bid, NFL owners recently awarded the 2010 Super Bowl to New York -- provided the stadium is built.

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