By DAN KARELL
New York City FC’s search for a soccer-specific stadium appears to have stalled.
After hastily preparing a proposal to build a stadium on a 10-acre plot of land near Yankee Stadium last December, there has been hardly a peep from NYC FC management or New York City about any continuation of stadium talks. The lack of progress is worrying for the club, which has yet to announce a training site for the team’s daily practices.
NYC FC are set to begin life in Major League Soccer in March 2015 playing in Yankee Stadium. The club announced that they will play there for at least the upcoming season, though multiple reports have stated that NYC FC will play their first three years of existence in the home of the New York Yankees.
Part of NYC FC’s Bronx soccer stadium proposal included purchasing land owned by elevator parts company GAL. Vice president Paul Siefried told Capital New York that while NYC FC initially approached him and had discussions about selling the land, there hadn’t been any contact in the last month.
“I really don’t know what the heck is happening,” Siefried said. “The ball is absolutely in their court. I’m happy to tell you [the football club] approached us and we talked for a while. Their interest was in this particular site.”
When Siefried was asked if he thought the proposal was likely dead in the water, he responded, “It appears that way.”
The Bronx proposal, which was being pushed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in his final month in office, called for a stadium to be built on a site just south of Yankee Stadium that included GAL, three publicly-subsidized parking lots that are in financial trouble, and a portion of 153rd Street.
Reports back in December on the original deal stated that New York City and Bloomberg’s administration was willing to give Manchester City and the Yankees, via NYC FC, more than $350 million in tax-exempt bonds and $21.5 in other tax subsidies. The stadium at the time was estimated to cost $400 million.
Before announcing NYC FC as the league’s 20th expansion franchise in May 2013, MLS had spent more than a year campaigning to build a soccer-specific stadium in Flushing-Meadows Park. However, MLS gave up those plans once NYC FC came into existence, putting the club’s future stadium plans in their own hands.
NYC FC and Man City executives have continued to state that they are looking at all options in the five boroughs in New York City. The club, though, is learning fast that almost nothing gets done in a timely fashion in New York, with so many competing interests on the line.
What do you think of this report? Do you expect NYC FC to have a stadium in the Bronx? Think they should look outside the five boroughs? Do you expect them to be at Yankee Stadium for more than three seasons?
Share your thoughts below.