Weinberg To Christie And Xanadu Negotiators: ‘Where’s The Beef?’

Two Months In, Senator is Still Waiting for Details on Largest Development Deal in Her Region

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree :

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

–‘Kubla Khan: A Fragment,’ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1797

TRENTON – State Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, issued the following statement today regarding press accounts in the Bergen Record that the Xanadu development deal was proceeding as scheduled. Senator Weinberg had requested information on the details of any negotiated deal nearly two months ago, and has yet to receive any information about plans for the Xanadu site:

“While I, like the rest of my neighbors, am happy that Governor Christie’s negotiators are moving full steam ahead to strike a deal with the Mall of America owners to take over the stalled Xanadu development, I have serious concerns regarding what’s being negotiated and who’s doing the negotiating.

“Despite the fact that an agreement was announced after the close of business on Christmas Eve – nearly two months ago – and the fact that I have made numerous requests for the details of any agreement, the administration has not been forthcoming with the information Each of my attempts to get specific details from the administration has been met with deafening silence.

“The fact that the Governor’s chief negotiator on this project is neither an elected or appointed figure, but rather a private real estate developer, raises even more questions. While we’re grateful to Jon Hanson for volunteering his business expertise to represent the State, we need a healthy dose of transparency to make sure that the final deal is in the best interests of State residents.

“I know that my efforts to be looped in about this development deal have been for naught, and I suspect that county officials have had the same luck.

“If completed correctly, the Xanadu site could be an economic boon for Bergen County and New Jersey as a whole, attracting visitors and creating jobs for the region. However, if any deal is achieved without proper safeguards that the public interest is being met, it could be a bigger boondoggle than the original development deal, enriching an elite few, snarling traffic, and wasting millions, if not billions of taxpayer dollars.

“If the Administration focuses on the public interest, we may yet realize the ‘stately pleasure-dome’ envisioned by English poet Samuel Coleridge in his famous poem ‘Kubla Khan,’ which cemented the idea of Xanadu as a center for opulence and prosperity into the Western consciousness. But we have to remember that Coleridge never finished his poem. If we veer off the course of public benefit, that same fate might befall our own real-life Xanadu at the Meadowlands.”