Officials from New York City have struck an agreement to construct the city’s first professional soccer stadium. The stadium will serve as the focal point of a massive mixed-use development that will revive a portion of Queens’ waterfront that has been neglected for a long time.
On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams and the officials for the New York City Football Club confirmed that a stadium with 25,000 seats would be built on city land for the New York City Football Club by the year 2027. The stadium would be located in the Willets Point neighbourhood of Queens, directly across the street from the right field foul pole of Citi Field, which is the home of the New York Mets.
The stadium would be the first large major-league sports arena to be erected in the city since 2012, and it is scheduled to be the focal point of a 23-acre project that also includes a hotel with 250 guest rooms and 2,500 residential units. According to the city’s officials, the project would be the greatest building of completely affordable housing in the city since the Mitchell-Lama complexes in the 1970s.
The agreement, which comes as Mayor Eric Adams is set to conclude his first year in office, marks the most ambitious economic development endeavour that the mayor has undertaken. It also marks the conclusion of two sagas: the team’s hunt for a dedicated soccer stadium, which spanned a decade, and an even longer mystery over the destiny of Willets Point, which was once a booming cluster of car repair shops.
In contrast to other stadium deals, such as the one that was negotiated this year by Governor Kathy Hochul for the Buffalo Bills and included nearly $900 million in public funding, city officials have stated that the majority of the subsidies for this project will be comprised of infrastructure improvements at the site as well as property tax breaks for the stadium.
According to authorities from the city, the soccer club will be responsible for paying the whole cost of building of the stadium, which is projected to be $780 million. According to Andrew Kimball, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation will neither employ tax-exempt bond financing nor will it directly infuse funds from the city. According to him, the developers are not being granted any tax breaks on the registration of mortgages or on sales taxes. However, for the term of the lease, the owners of the stadium won’t be responsible for paying any real estate taxes.
The land on which the stadium and housing will be constructed is owned by the city of New York, and the city plans to lease it to the football club as well as to a development team that will include Related Companies, the company that developed Hudson Yards, and Sterling Equities, the development company that is partially controlled by the Wilpon family, the family that formerly owned the Mets.
The construction of Citi Field, a new soccer stadium, and the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which is home to the U.S. Open, are some of the sports and entertainment venues that are planned to be built as part of this project, which aims to convert an existing industrial area into a destination site. And it could put the new owner of the Mets, the hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, in a better position to win one of the three new state casino licences that are up for grabs; he is in talks with Hard Rock to join forces to propose a casino by Citi Field. In addition, it could put the Mets in a better position to compete with other teams in the National League East.
The New York City Football Club started looking for a location that it could call its permanent home in the year 2012, which was three years before the club played its first game. During the last several months of the administration of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, discussions were taking place to construct a stadium for the club in the midst of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
These proposals were stalled by local politicians and activists for parks, who opposed to surrendering limited and extensively utilised parkland to a team that could easily afford to build elsewhere: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates is the primary owner of both the New York Yankees and this team. The New York City Football Club is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a minority capacity. In addition, the Mets raised objections and insisted that payment be made before allowing soccer supporters to park in the areas around Citi Field.