16 September 2014

NYCFC Looks at Queens Again: Aqueduct Racetrack

Developers behind the nascent New York City Football Club are now looking to land near the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, after plans to build near Yankee Stadium fell apart.

Manchester City Football Club owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan and the New York Yankees, which are partnering in the joint venture for the NYCFC, are now looking at a possible site adjacent to the Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, Queens.
Sources close to the site negotiations said that the Bronx plan “fell through the cracks,” after developers could not reach a deal with a tenant in a building that occupies the site the partners had hoped to develop.
“The tenant is in one of the old buildings in the area that they needed to vacate, they had agreed on a price, then he changed his mind and the deal fell through,” the source said.

"NYCFC is looking at sites all over New York City," said Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for NYCFC. "We are working with the De Blasio Administration to find a world class site for a soccer-specific stadium."

Last month that Paul Seifred, the vice-president of an elevator business that would have had to relocate, met with representatives from bin Zayed al-Nahyan and the Yankees. At the time, Seifred said that despite talks with the football club, it appeared the plan for the site was dead.

The city abandoned its original plan to build in the middle of Queens’ largest park (Flushing Meadow Park, site of Citifield) after the Bloomberg administration came up with a more attractive deal, which would build on a 10-acre site in the South Bronx, encompassing three of Yankee Stadium’s parking lots and the building controlled by Seifred’s elevator company.
The Aqueduct Racetrack, home to the Resorts World Casino, sits on an expansive 210 acre piece of land in Queens. Redevelopment plans have consistently been pitched for the area, with the latest being a short lived proposal for a Javits-style convention center on property by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Soccer is no stranger to the Aqueduct. Teams have entertained the area for years, dating back to the Metrostars (now the New York Red Bulls, with their own stadium in Harrison, NJ) in 2001. Then-owners John Kluge and Stuart Subotnick proposed a Cosmos-style $70 million redevelopment plan that would include shops and housing centered around a 25,000 seat stadium. But that plan never took off; the MLS rejected the site due to its transportation issues. Only one subway, the A-line, reaches the site, and the closest parkway, the Belt, is renowned for bumper-to-bumper traffic jams. In addition, the entire site sits at the edge of JFK International Airport.