West side rumble

Cablevision takes on Jets in land bid

NEW YORK — Chuck Dolan’s Cablevision and the New York Jets put in competing bids for a tract of land on the West Side of Manhattan, meeting the 5 p.m. Monday deadline for submission.

The Jets’ bid envisions a new football stadium, which would become the centerpiece of the 2012 Olympics if the Olympic committee approves New York City’s proposal.

Cablevision put forward a completely different blueprint, calling for a huge apartment complex, an elementary school, hotel, retail stores and other uses; a stadium was nowhere in the offering.

For months now, Cablevision has fought the plans for a stadium, due to its conviction that the facility would pull events away from the Dolan-owned Madison Square Garden a few blocks away.

Cablevision helped to finance a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that mobilized community leaders in deploring the stadium proposal, pointing out New York state and city would together funnel $600 million in tax dollars to the facility — money that could be used for salaries for police, firefighters and schoolteachers.

The Jets were so outraged that Dolan had stalled what looked like a sure thing that it slapped a federal lawsuit on Cablevision last week, charging it was using its monopoly power as a cable operator to unfairly try to prevent the Jets from getting city approval for the stadium.

A third bidder, TransGas, submitted a $1 billion offer. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not disclose the size of either the Cablevision bid or the Jets’ offer. The Jets had first put up $100 million for the stadium and promised it would increase that amount in its formal bid. Cablevision’s initially said it would spend $600 million on its blueprint.

The cost of the proposed stadium could escalate to $1.7 billion, making it the most expensive sports stadium ever built. Both New York Gov. George Pataki and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg support the stadium because it could create huge numbers of jobs, revitalize the city’s West Side and seal the deal on getting the 2012 Summer Olympics to originate in New York.

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