The New York Times reports that New York City FC is close to a deal for a new soccer-specific stadium in the Bronx, potentially putting the club closer to ending its long-running facility challenges.
NYCFC is backed by an investment group that includes the New York Yankees and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and it began play at Yankee Stadium as an MLS expansion team in 2015. Its long-term goal has been to build a soccer-specific stadium in one of New York City’s five boroughs, but the club has run into plenty of roadblocks in its years-long search for a new home.
It appears that the club is close to an agreement that includes a new stadium, with NYCFC investors reportedly set to partner with developers on an over $1-billion development in the South Bronx, just blocks down River Avenue from Yankee Stadium. A privately financed, 25,000-seat stadium would anchor that plan, with the other components of the project including affordable housing units, a hotel, retail space, and a new school.
Jorge Madruga’s Maddd Equities is among the group of developers involved in the project, which developers say has the support of powerful New York City officials, including mayor Bill de Blasio and Economic Development Corporation president James Patchett. There is not a finalized agreement, however. The E.D.C. said in a statement that an agreement has not been reached, while NYCFC confirmed that discussions are taking place but stopped well short of saying that an agreement has been finalized. More from the New York Times:
“It’s long past time to make the underutilized parking lots around Yankee Stadium into something more,” a representative for the E.D.C. said in a statement Friday. “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.”
A New York City F.C. representative confirmed the discussions but, perhaps wary because of earlier failures, expressed similar caution.
“We have been honored to call the Bronx our home for the last five years playing at Yankee Stadium, and we will keep our neighbors and our dedicated fans informed as we participate with Maddd and others in any related consultations and the public approval process,” the team said.
Any approval process for the project would be expected to take at least months, with public hearings, a rezoning application, and a request to decommission certain roadways among those steps. Construction of the stadium–which would be built on a site that includes parking garages and an elevator parts factory across 153rd Street–would not be expected to begin until at least 2022.
That means that NYCFC is likely still facing a fairly long path to a new stadium, though the reported progress in the discussions represents hope for a club that has needed a new facility for years. Yankee Stadium has never been quite optimized for pro soccer, and NYCFC has had to move home matches at several points in previous seasons because of scheduling conflicts with the Yankees.