New York City Football Club Reaches Deal For 25,000-Seat Stadium In Queens
After a decadelong search, the New York City Football Club has finally found a home to call its own.
The Major League Soccer club will pay $780M to build a 25,000-seat stadium in the Willets Point neighborhood of Queens on land owned by the city, Mayor Eric Adams, the team and developers Sterling Equities and Related Cos. announced Wednesday. The New York Times first reported the deal, which will see some 2,500 housing units — all of which are planned as income-restricted — and a 250-room hotel alongside the stadium to be built by 2027.
The soccer stadium would give the former industrial zone a hat trick of sporting arenas — the site sits across the street from the New York Mets’ ballpark, Citi Field, and near the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open is played.
NYCFC plans to sign a 49-year lease for the 23-acre site, paying up to $4M in rent annually to the city for the ground lease. The team will reportedly also have a 25-year extension option.
The stadium-anchored project still has to go through the city's land use process, but it is likely to receive necessary approvals as it has the support of New York City Council Member Francisco Moya, who has long sought a soccer stadium in his district, the Times reports.
NYCFC has long played its home games in Yankee Stadium (the Yankees are a minority owner in the club) and were previously close to a deal that would have seen parking lots near its temporary home demolished to make way for a permanent pitch.
NYCFC, which is owned by a member of the United Arab Emirates royal family, has agreed to pay for the entire stadium construction, city officials said — a contrast from the Buffalo Bills’ stadium deal that negotiated $900M in public funds earlier this year. Subsidies for the NYCFC will be limited to supporting infrastructure.
If the development goes ahead as planned, the housing component will be the largest affordable project delivered in NYC since the 1970s Mitchell-Lama projects, according to the Times.
The developers won't have to pay real estate taxes for the duration of the lease, but will not receive city cash, tax-exempt bond financing, or abatements on sales or mortgage recordation taxes, New York City Economic Development Corp. President Andrew Kimball told the Times. Related is run by Stephen Ross, the owner of the NFL's Miami Dolphins, while Sterling Equities was founded by Fred Wilpon, a former owner of the Mets.
The project could also put Mets owner, hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, in a favorable position to win one of three casino licenses being offered within the city by New York state. Cohen is reportedly in talks with Hard Rock to build a casino near Citi Field.
Some obstacles remain: approximately a dozen historic businesses still remain in the neighborhood, a former industrial site that became home to NYC auto body repair shop and scrap yard hub known as the Iron Triangle.
Previous NYC mayors Micheal Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio tried and failed to evict, buy out or relocate all businesses in the area in favor of housing developments. Half of the remaining businesses are on city land, while half are on land belonging to private developers that Related and Sterling are now negotiating with, the Times reports.