According to a report by David Waldstein of the New York Times, Major League Soccer club NYCFC is close to a deal with New York City for a privately financed soccer-specific stadium in the Bronx.
The report states that the stadium would be located just minutes down River Avenue from Yankee Stadium where NYCFC has called home for its first six years of existence, with its seventh season set to begin later this month.
This news comes on the heels of the embarrassing announcement earlier Friday that NYCFC will play its upcoming CONCACAF Champions League game against Costa Rican club San Carlos at Red Bull Arena, the home of cross-town rivals New York Red Bulls. The club, in its announcement, attempted to save face by announcing that tickets would be free to all NYCFC season ticket holders due to “the inconvenience of playing outside of the five boroughs,” a thinly veiled shot at RBNY’s remote location.
Waldstein’s report cites a statement by James Patchett, the president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, who says that it “sees value in the proposal” but says nothing has been formally finalized. The report also states that the project has the backing of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
The 25,000-seat stadium would reportedly be just one key part of a $1 billion project that would change parking lots into affordable housing units, a school, a hotel, a waterfront park, and other commercial enterprises.
“It’s long past time to make the underutilized parking lots around Yankee Stadium into something more,” the Economic Development Corporation said in its statement via a representative. “The city has been approached by a team of affordable housing developers, the Yankees and the N.Y.C. Football Club. A deal has not been reached and more conversations are needed. We are hopeful for a future where these lots can better serve the community. The first step toward achieving that is engaging the community on their needs and vision for this area.”
NYCFC also confirmed the discussions on the record, and while their statement was far more cautious, the fact either party would go on the record at all is a very positive sign. According to the report, should the deal pass through the necessary hurdles, construction would likely not begin until 2022, meaning the stadium would not be ready for game action until an estimated 2024.