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Triple Five calls Giants/Jets lawsuit 'end-run' on American Dream process

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Attorneys for Triple Five, the developer seeking to revive the Xanadu project, have asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit by the New York Giants and New York Jets that threatens to stop the company from resuming construction of the retail and entertainment complex.

In a response filed today in state Superior Court, Triple Five called the teams' lawsuit "premature" and an attempt to a sidestep a permitting and public comment process for the project that goes back to late last year. The developer asks the court to dismiss the complaint in favor of a hearing that will be held by the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, the landlord for the project site and the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

"The present lawsuit is therefore nothing more than a naked attempt by plaintiffs to do an end-run around the administrative process when that process is nowhere complete or final," the attorneys wrote. They also said the Jets and Giants have taken part in the proceedings but have not offered proof of what they claim will be the project's adverse effects.

A court date has been set for July 27.

The Giants and Jets released the following joint statement today: "Just as Triple Five left us with no choice but to file suit to protect our rights and our fans, they now leave us with no choice but to defend against this meritless motion to dismiss. We are disappointed with their continued refusal to work with the teams and New Jersey state officials to reach a compromise to avoid the traffic and safety issues that would come from adding thousands of additional cars on game days."

Triple Five, through a spokesman, said it has shared information and spent time with the teams describing anticipated impacts including traffic and parking.

The NFL teams, which occupy nearby MetLife Stadium, sued Triple Five and the NJSEA June 22, alleging that plans to expand the project would cripple game-day traffic around the stadium. They argue the plan violates a 2006 agreement with the previous developer that gives them the right to consent to certain changes to the project.

The dispute centers on Triple Five's plan to add indoor water and amusement parks, which it hopes to rebrand as American Dream Meadowlands. The teams are hoping to block construction of the massive project, which already has stalled for more than a decade.

In its filing today, Triple Five points to a June 28 letter from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority that says the agency plans to conduct a hearing on the dispute. The developer and the teams have until July 20 to give submissions to the authority's master plan committee, which will conduct the hearing.

Triple Five's attorneys, which are from West Orange-based Wolff & Samson, also argue that the jurisdiction for the dispute belongs to several state agencies overseeing the project, not the courts.

Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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