Yankee Stadium. Image: pingnews.com via Flickr
New York City Football Club, the Major League Soccer franchise owned by the Yankees and an investment group led by Abu Dhabi billionaire royal Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who also owns Manchester City Football Club, may have found a site for its own home stadium after a five-year search. The focus is on a site in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium, which is where the team’s owners had wanted to build the stadium in 2013, as 6sqft previously reported. This time around, the stadium would be part of a multibillion-dollar 20-acre development along East 153rd Street and River Avenue between Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Terminal Market and would also include a park, a hotel and soccer and sports-focused conference center, shops, office space, a school and as many as 3,000 affordable apartments, according to the New York Times.
Soccer at Yankee Stadium. Image: Peter Roan via Flickr
The development project is headed by Jorge Madruga of Maddd Equities in partnership with Eli Weiss of Joy Construction; the developers would lease the land for the stadium to the team and build the housing, the park and hotel. Madruga and Weiss have been looking for land in neighborhoods near Yankee Stadium to build a large-scale housing development for a decade and said they recently approached Yankees president Randy Levine, knowing that the soccer team had been looking to build a stadium on East 153rd Street. The team’s decision to pair the new stadium with affordable housing is meant to show that the project has social benefit beyond entertainment value.
But the Bronx site isn’t the only spot being considered for the soccer stadium. A team spokeswoman said that New York City Football Club “is actively pursuing a permanent home in N.Y.C. and exploring several options, including working with Maddd Equities in the Bronx. We continue to engage in meaningful dialogue to understand what may be feasible on their site.”
Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development (and a soccer fan), said the city has also been talking to the team about another site next to Citi Field at Willets Point, Queens. “I do believe strongly that it would be a good thing to have a stadium specifically designed for soccer in a global city as incredibly diverse as New York. We’re going to have the World Cup in 2026.” She added, “It is way too early to say it’s happening in the Bronx as opposed to Queens. All these locations require discretionary approvals.”
The Bronx site being considered for the new stadium development and affordable housing. Image: Google Earth.
The developers claim they have a binding agreement to purchase the GAL Manufacturing factory on East 153rd Street near the Major Deegan Expressway. In turn, they would lease the land to New York City F.C. to build the stadium. The rent would subsidize the creation of the housing. The developer also has a tentative agreement to buy or lease a parking garage across the street from the aforementioned factory in addition to other parking lots nearby.
Most New York City F.C. home games have been played at Yankee Stadium; the team opened a new training center designed by Rafael Viñoly in Orangeburg, N.Y., earlier this year, and has created 10 junior-sized NYC soccer fields in partnership with Adidas and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. The city’s first soccer stadium, wherever it lands, would not be big enough for World Cup matches, which can draw crowds of more than 80,000 fans. New York City F.C.’s stadium would allegedly have about 26,000 seats and cost about $400 million.
The new soccer stadium would join the nation’s most crowded sports venue market, adding up to five stadiums and six arenas within a 60-mile radius of Madison Square Garden, not including the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens which hosts the U.S. Open. Those 11 venues, including the proposed soccer stadium and two hockey arenas in the works for Long Island, would have a combined 335,271 seats. All of the teams combined play fewer than 81 home games each season; for the rest of the year, stadiums and arenas vie for concerts, ice skating performances, circuses, wrestling extravaganzas and other big-venue events.
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Neighborhoods : Bronx