Streams

Mayor Bloomberg Is "Trying To Help" Nearly Bankrupt Yankee Stadium Parking Company

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 11:31 AM

"How'd you get to the game?" For most Yankees fans, the answer is not driving and parking in a stadium garage but riding mass transit. (photo by Flickr / wallyg)

(New York, NY - WNYC) With the company that owns the Yankee Stadium parking system staring down bankruptcy, Mayor Bloomberg called the situation "sad," and said his administration is "trying to help them."

Speaking during a press conference Q & A, the mayor addressed the issue of the stadium's foundering garages and lots, which have been only 42 percent full this season, according to this latest report.

"There just wasn't the business there that the owners, who made the investment, thought that there was going to be," the mayor said in answer to a question posed by a WNYC reporter. "If the owners of the parking garage can't make money, that's sad. We've got to find a way to help them."

The Bloomberg administration has already tried to help the company by having the city's Economic Development Corporation attempt to broker a deal with a real estate developer to build affordable housing and stores on some of the underused lots near an existing retail mall. But those talks have ended without a deal.

NYC EDC spokesman Kyle Sklerov wouldn't give specifics on the failed negotiations. Nor would he comment on an idea by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to have the Bronx Parking Development Company build a hotel atop an empty garage. Sklerov would only say:“New options to develop the site will be considered moving forward as part of a larger effort by the BPDC board to get back on sound financial footing."

The scramble to find new revenue for the BPDC was set off by the company's long slide into default on $237 million in tax-free bonds. The NYC EDC acted as the conduit for those bonds, not the seller, so taxpayers aren't holding the debt.

Still, the default is a blow to the agency's reputation. Before the Yankees' new stadium was opened in 2009, Bronx residents and some civic groups tried to warn the city and the team that 9,000 parking spots spread across eleven lots and garages weren't needed. Their concerns went unheeded and the EDC facilitated the tax-free bonds that created a parking system sized to suit the Yankees' misguided desire.

The lots and garages have been underused--even during seasons, like this one, when the Yankees make the playoffs--and the BPDC is now in financial free fall.

Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg said it best when first asked at the press conference about the stadium parking: "Not everything works."

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Comments [7]

A

wow - ppl love to compalin... for one thing -it states the tax payers are not on the hook for the bonds. They under-estimated the share of suburban commuters who would use Metro-North and now have to revise. The EDC is trying to broker a deal - not give them money for their bad investment. Stop trying to create conspiracies where there are none. Anyone who has ever owned a business - or even been a manager knows thinks go wrong and you have to re-tool.

Oct. 21 2012 03:22 PM
Matthias

This is not sad. This is what happens everywhere when too much parking is built next to transit. (Even at Barclays Center, people are marveling that the parking lots are only half full.) Bailing them out does not help companies to make better choices. I hope the space can be repurposed and put to an economically productive use.

@SubwayNut That is pathetic. Maybe DOT can do something about the lack of bike facilities.

Oct. 19 2012 01:28 PM
jjcomet

"“There just wasn’t the business there that the owners, who made the investment, thought that there was going to be,” the mayor said in answer to a question posed by a WNYC reporter. “If the owners of the parking garage can’t make money, that’s sad. We’ve got to find a way to help them.”"

WTF? When did Americans start believing that they had a God-given right to profit from every investment they make? If the business wasn't there, it was a bad business plan and it deserved to fail. So much for Bloomberg's professed faith in the market.

Oct. 18 2012 10:21 PM
Jim O'Grady

@SubwayNut I didn't mean to use an old photo of the stadium. That was my bad--thanks for catching it. And thanks for the tip about the lack of bike parking at the new Yankee Stadium, which stands in contrast to the array of bike parking at the recently opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Are you a Nets fan? Can you become one?

Oct. 18 2012 02:26 PM
ChrisC

Yes, let's build 9000 parking spaces in a city where most households don't even own a car. It's the same thing at the big malls they built a couple years ago in South Bronx and East Harlem - the parking is barely used. New Yorkers by and large don't drive. Any idiot could have told you that.

Oct. 18 2012 12:03 PM
Rob

The emphasis on parking by Bloomberg's administration is just bizarre, and reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the character of NYC. Seth Pinsky's EDC seems more like a Kansas state agency, with the assumption on all projects that parking needs to be huge regardless of its impact on the street. As a result, we get "dead blocks" of parking garages that make the neighborhood even less inviting.

And this emphasis on parking is exactly opposite to PlaNYC.

Oct. 18 2012 11:01 AM
gpsman

["We’ve got to find a way to help them.”]

Yes, we mustn't allow an opportunity for corporate welfare slip away.

Oct. 18 2012 09:01 AM

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