Thursday, August 29, 2013

NY Times: "Soccer Club’s Latest Stadium Proposal Would Give the Yankees a New Neighbor"

The New York Times is reporting that NYCFC is looking at space in the Bronx as a potential permanent home:

Specifically, this site one block south of Yankee Stadium:

Soccer Club’s Latest Stadium Proposal Would Give the Yankees a New Neighbor
Published: August 29, 2013

A Major League Soccer franchise, whose plans to build a stadium in a Queens park were interrupted by community opposition, has a new site in mind: just south of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

If the latest proposal is successful, the New York City Football Club would build a 25,000-to-30,000-seat stadium that offers connections to subways and rail lines, as well as Yankee Stadium and the Gateway Center, a large retail complex near the Harlem River.

The franchise, a partnership of Manchester City Football Club of England’s Premier League and the Yankees, are negotiating with the owners of a nine-acre parcel between the Major Deegan Expressway and East 153rd Street.

“We’ve had preliminary discussions,” Randy Levine, the president of the Yankees, said, “but we’re a long way from any decision. We’re also considering sites in Queens and Brooklyn.”

Mr. Levine emphasized that if a deal was struck, it would not involve any parkland. The team, which would not play on the same day the Yankees had a home game, has sought a site that is near public transportation and communities where soccer is especially popular.

In May, elected officials, community groups and park advocates objected to the soccer club’s original plan to build a stadium on 10 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, an area that already has a baseball stadium and a tennis complex.

Despite support from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the team backed away from the Queens site, saying it would explore other possible locations. But that, team officials said, does not necessarily eliminate Flushing Meadows-Corona Park as a potential site.

In July, Mr. Bloomberg appeared to indicate that the club would indeed play its home games in the Bronx, saying in his weekly radio address that “Yankee Stadium will become the home of the New York City Football Club.” A few days later, the mayor’s office said Mr. Bloomberg had misspoken.

Rubén Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, said he would gauge the reaction of local residents in the coming weeks to building a second stadium on the site before coming to a final decision. He said he would oppose any use of parkland.

It will not be easy for the club to put the Bronx site together. Sitting on the parcel under consideration is a parking garage for Yankee Stadium that is run by a troubled nonprofit, the Bronx Parking Development Company. In April, the company defaulted on a $237 million civic bond.

The soccer club would have to strike a deal with the parking company that would compensate it for the garage and put it on more solid financial footing.

The club would also have to acquire the land currently occupied by a highway ramp and a 100,000-square-foot factory, GAL Manufacturing Corporation, a family-owned business that makes elevator components and employs 225 people. Bronx officials do not want to lose a major employer. According to one person who has been briefed on the talks but was not authorized to discuss them, the soccer club has offered to build GAL a new factory elsewhere in the Bronx.
This would be a great fit, although I'm intrigued by the possibility that they could still put one in Brooklyn. I presume that the Queens site mentioned is at Flushing Meadows; ten years ago they might have been able to put something together in Long Island City, with tremendous views of Midtown. That's not far from the site where they took this publicity shot:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Some Other Team to Host Brooklyn Viewing Party

The Red Bulls are holding a viewing party in Brooklyn Bridge Park on August 10th.

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
Come out to the outdoor viewing party of the season, when the Red Bulls hit the road to take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday, Aug. 10th.The Red Bulls will set up a big screen and get the party started at Brooklyn Bridge’s Harbor View Lawn at Pier 1 (underneath the bridge).

The festivities kick off a 7:00PM (actual match start time is 7:30 PM), so make sure you get there early to snag a close spot. Bring your blankets, towels, lawn chairs and of course cameras. Food and beverages will be available for purchase as well. Cash only.

To join the event, RSVP on the team's Facebook page. For those who may have questions about transportation options to and from the viewing party, check the Red Bulls website.
This is the second year the Red Bulls have held an outdoor viewing party in Brooklyn. 

It's good to see that the Red Bulls are taking an interest in the city. Shame that it took the Cosmos and NYCFC to prod them into doing it.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pier 40 Stadium Renderings Leaked

Two days ago, these renderings of a proposed MLS soccer stadium on Pier 40 were leaked on Reddit.

This was one of the locations considered before MLS turned its focus to Queens, but setbacks there might mean the West Side plan is still alive.

The roof only covers three sides of the stadium, presumably to allow gorgeous views of Downtown and the World Trade Center:

Excellent. I'd put the supporters' groups in that south stand, to complete the picture. 

Here's what the proposed stadium would look like from the Hudson River (minus all the buildings that would be behind it):

And here's a view from the West Side Highway, looking towards New Jersey.

If you're not familiar with Pier 40, it's located on the Hudson River, on the West Side of Manhattan, in the southwest corner of the West Village.

It is an oversized, square pier with more than 14 square acres of space. It currently hosts soccer fields, a dog run, trapeze cage and parking lots.

Pier 40 is part of the Hudson River Park, which has seen a massive development over the past decade. Old piers have been reclaimed and repurposed, and a pedestrian/bicycle path spans the entire riverfront from the Battery all the way up to the Harlem River. The water is a major component of life on the West Side of Manhattan, and any stadium would be integrated into the heart of New York City.

There are two major issues I see, as someone who lived near the Hudson River for many years: I don't know how well a soccer stadium would be able to handle car traffic; and it's important that the public space not be completely handed over to a private entity. MLS would have to share its treasure with the locals. If those concerns can be addressed it would be an amazing site. Breathtaking views, lots of space on which to build and just blocks from the 1, B, C, D, E, F and M subway lines as well as the PATH train from New Jersey.

In the past, it has been speculated that the Dolans might try to kill this proposal as they did the Jets' West Side Stadium project in 2005. They saw any new venue as a threat to Madison Square Garden's lucrative concert income, and spent a lot of money to make sure they didn't have the competition. This time, however, they're fighting just to hold on to the lease in their current location, and I doubt they'll have either the time or resources to spend opposing this plan.