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Soccer Stadium Bonds Sap New Jersey Town as Condo Dreams Vanish

On a May evening, soccer fans streamed down a Harrison, New Jersey, sidewalk lined with posters depicting cafes and parks that don’t exist. They were headed to the $200 million Red Bull Arena, which rises above warehouses and industrial wreckage that were to become condos for New York City commuters and transform the town.

Harrison predicted that redevelopment revenue would cover its $39 million debt to buy and clean up land under the stadium for the Major League Soccer team owned by Dietrich Mateschitz, billionaire founder of the namesake energy-drink company. Instead, most construction projects haven’t begun. The community, across the Passaic River from Newark with a per-capita income 69 percent of the state average, had its credit rating slashed and is firing police and firefighters.