Yankees Want Tax Perks to Put Soccer Stadium Where Parking Garages Failed

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 08:36 PM

Bottom right corner shows part of parking garage that would be torn down to make way for a soccer stadium. It sits next to the old Yankee Stadium, which has been demolished. (Moonstruck Video and Photo/flickr)

The city is working on a deal to use tax-exempt bonds and other subsidies to bring a 28,000-seat soccer stadium to the Bronx. The agreement would bail out the bankrupt company that owns 11 parking garages and lots serving Yankee Stadium -- garages originally built with hundreds of millions of dollars in government subsidies.

The city's Economic Development Corporation might grant up to $300 million in tax-free bonds to build the stadium on a site now partially occupied by an abandoned parking garage. Bondholders of the Bronx Parking Development Corporation - the bankrupt entity that owns the garage - would stand to make $25 million. The company owes the city nearly $50 million in rent and taxes, but it is legally obligated to pay off its bondholders first. The garage, which fronts East 153rd Street, would then be demolished.

The Yankees are also trying to buy property from GAL Manufacturing Company, an elevator maker across the street from the garage. To complete a stadium-sized parcel, the city would have to close and de-map one block of East 153rd Street. 

The 28,000-seat stadium would be home to a Major League Soccer team owned by the Yankees and British team Manchester City. Under terms of the draft agreement, the teams would be exempt from paying rent for 38 years.

Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York, a watchdog group, says taxpayer support of private stadiums is a bad idea. "Clearly the Yankees and Manchester City have the resources and the ability to pay for a stadium for themselves."

If the agreement goes through, Bill de Blasio, as mayor, would have a month to decide whether to approve it.


Comments [14]

Bronxite from NYC

The excessive parking garages were a terrible idea. The location is rich in mass transit. I blame the NYCEDC, they are notorious for overbuilding parking and suburbanization.

A soccer stadium would give visitors and residents another reason to visit the Yankee Stadium corridor. New jobs and commerce is good for the Bronx. Imagine all the new restauraunts and pubs that could open up or those existing businesses that would benefit from an extended season. I should also mention that all this positive publicity (Soccer Stadium, Kingsbridge Ice Center, general development) is boosting tourism in the Bronx and NYC as a whole.

This is creating a favorable outlook of the Bronx.

Dec. 13 2013 02:06 AM

KGResident - the team has to pay off the bonds... so the city wouldn't be owning the stadium... basically it's like a cheap loan. As to your hope for De Blasio... he supported Barclay's which got WAY more subsidy than this.

Dec. 12 2013 07:00 PM

pamela - you are correct... but the Kingsbridge deal is different in that they are only paying to renovate the armory... The city will still own the armory... Manchester City's and the Yankees would be giving 25 million to help bail out the parking garage companies. the armory has no cush issue.

Dec. 12 2013 06:57 PM
Tax payer from Bronx

How about taking the money back from the city planners, NYCEDC and all the other developers who made the failed parking lot and those who thought it was a good idea. I believe NYCEDC is responsible for a lot of this mess and it's a good thing people have been jumping ship from this agency which is a hot mess in so many ways.

Why can't they just play soccer in Yankee stadium and make the place dual purpose for two different sports.

Dec. 12 2013 01:22 PM
pamela from UWS

"Clearly the Yankees and Manchester City have the resources and the ability to pay for a stadium for themselves."

crazy, the kinsbridge armory deal is with $300 in private finds and livng wage jobs, that should be the new bar for any development in nyc.

And stop the subsidies to the FreshDirect rotten proposal, they do not even make a profit after ten years they are near bankrupt!

Dec. 12 2013 12:06 PM
Ian Turner

No bailouts for parking.

Dec. 12 2013 10:36 AM
Michael from Brooklyn

I generally agree with the sentiments here, but there is some misunderstanding. The City is not paying for the stadium outright. Tax-exempt bonds is a favorable financing measure, and does mean some taxpayer money is used to support/spur/catalyze the project. WNYC generally does a great job informing its members/listeners, so I guess here is my contribution as a member.

Now... absolutely no way any public dollars should support a side project for two of the wealthiest sports franchises in the world. In fact, as part of the project agreement NYCFC should be required to make some public improvement/investment in the surrounding parks, streets or subway stations that will see increased traffic. And also should be required to establish an "Academy Team" exclusively for low-income children in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan.

Dec. 12 2013 10:28 AM
Tom Lynch from Manhattan

Ugh! What are we doing subsidizing the undeserving rich like The Yankees and Manchester City? To make them richer, of course. Madness! Or, worse, high level corruption.

Dec. 12 2013 10:06 AM

"Subsidies" is a euphemism for corporate welfare. Taxpayer money should be invested in infrastructure, public education, and affordable housing (among other things), especially for the residents of one of the poorest counties in the United States (i.e. Bronx county). People in the south Bronx don't need more stadiums and parking garages, and certainly not ones paid for by taxpayers themselves. It's time to end corporate welfare and the abuse and misuse of *our* tax dollars.

Dec. 12 2013 09:53 AM
j.b. diGriz

Subsidize the restoration and construction of new public libraries and interior meeting spaces, not a soccer stadium. I very much love soccer, and would have supported the stadium at Flushing Meadows park. But a stadium on our credit, on behalf of Man City and the Yankees? That's just stupid. I'm not against their building it, but let them borrow their own money.

Dec. 12 2013 09:09 AM
hmi from Park Slope

Better idea: City allows parking company to fail, takes back parking garage in lieu of taxes, takes over operation of garage and lowers parking fees from $35 to $15, then uses the money to pay off the bonds it should never have issued in the first place.

Alternative: after reclaiming the property, it sells it to MLS for $300M, in order that they build a stadium with their own money, taxing their operations just like any other business.

Dec. 12 2013 09:03 AM
KGResident from Central Queens

So MLS failed to get to own Flushing Meadow Park, and Bloomberg overstepped his power. So since they can't get a public park, they want us, the taxpayers, to foot the bill for their stadium. Last time I checked, they were a private consortium with lots of money. No more bond deals for sports teams, private developers that push out the folks who have lived in the neighborhood for decades, and tax deferments for multimillionaires who purchase %10 million dollar apartments and can certainly afford to pay the taxes.

Enough is enough, and hopefully our new mayor will put a stop to corporate welfare that permeates this city. That money is needed for schools, hospitals and keeping the city safe.

Dec. 12 2013 08:35 AM

Dear Mr. de Blasio,

Please, just say no!

Money for libraries and Pre-K, not sports stadiums!

Dec. 12 2013 08:17 AM

So all this money for sports, malls (Xanadu?!?!) and garages but other arts and services starve - this really shows we are following the same trajectory as Rome.

Can we let millionaires/billionaires pay for their own stadiums and use this money for more trains, perhaps?

Dec. 12 2013 06:44 AM

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