NYCFC To Bid For Stadium At Belmont Park While It Searches For NYC Alternative
Major League Soccer's NYCFC, New York's newest professional sports franchise, is getting ready to take a major step toward playing in its own stadium.
The club plans to place a bid on New York State's request for proposals for a sports and entertainment development at Belmont Race Park on Long Island, Newsday reports. The soccer team has played at Yankee Stadium since its inaugural season in 2015, but has had a stated goal of playing in a dedicated stadium within the five boroughs since before its inception.
While Belmont Park does not check that box — the site is just outside of New York City limits — it is a public RFP for a sports complex. Considering there are no slam-dunk locations in New York City proper, Newsday reports the team is doing its due diligence in going through the Empire State Development Corp.'s RFP process. Bids for the site are due Thursday afternoon.
NYCFC will reportedly submit a joint bid with The Related Cos., one of the city's most prominent developers, for a complex that would include retail, a hotel and potentially other entertainment options on the 43 acres of vacant, state-owned land around the track. The bid will go up against competition from the New York Islanders, eager to move out of the Barclays Center after a failed move to Brooklyn.
Soccer website FourFourTwo reported last week that Belmont was one of four sites the team is considering, along with Long Island City and Willets Point in Queens and in the parking lots next to Yankee Stadium. Willets Point is owned by the Wilpon family, which owns the New York Mets and nearby Citi Field.
Each of the sites have their own challenges, and while Belmont Park might be the most feasible for stadium construction in the near term, its location outside the city and the comparable lack of public transit — it only has a Long Island Rail Road station nearby — could make it a tough sell for the fledgling team's fan base.
The team will continue to search for stadium sites in the five boroughs through the RFP process, according to Newsday's source, but it has not identified any feasible locations.