New York City FC stadium

The New York City FC stadium is a proposed soccer-specific stadium to be built in New York City for New York City FC of Major League Soccer. The team currently plays its home games at Yankee Stadium.[1]

  Abandoned proposal sites   Current proposal sites

Proposed Hudson River plan (2011)Edit

Prior to an expansion team being awarded to private ownership in 2011, Major League Soccer considered building a stadium in the borough of Manhattan on Pier 40 at the west end of Houston Street adjacent to Hudson River Park. The plan was scrapped due to local opposition.[2][3]

Proposed Flushing Meadows plan (2012–2013)Edit

In 2012, before the club's founding was announced in May 2013, Major League Soccer (MLS) presented initial plans to build a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in the borough of Queens.[4] In 2013, Major League Soccer was in negotiations to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows for a future team. The stadium would be located on the site of the Pool of Industry/Fountain of the Planets from the 1964 New York World's Fair.[5] No agreement was made.[6] MLS had considered 24 potential sites and concluded that Flushing Meadows–Corona Park was the only viable option.[7]

The plan received opposition from community advocacy groups, for converting public park space for a private enterprise, and leasing 13 acres (5.3 ha) of public land for $1 a year for 35 years.[8] In addition, New York City Comptroller John Liu said, "I like the idea of a soccer venue in New York City… What I'm not crazy about is the fact that they want to take public park land in the process".[8] Any deal that uses public park land would require a land swap and the creation of a replacement public park. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who expressed support for the Flushing Meadows site proposed converting the nearby site of the decommissioned Flushing Airport, but that plan too has encountered criticism, as it would not require the club to purchase any land, and would replace a park in a low-income neighborhood with one in a more affluent neighborhood and not accessible by public transit.[8]

The New York Mets, the crosstown rivals of New York City FC's minority owner, the New York Yankees, have also expressed their opposition to a new stadium at Flushing Meadows, as the site is within sight of Citi Field, the Mets' home field. The Mets responded with an apparent demand for up to $40 million in compensation for the use of their parking facilities at soccer games should the new stadium be built.[9]

The league announced that the club would "continue to review other potential sites as well", although MLS commissioner Don Garber had said in April 2013 that "There is no Plan B" should the Flushing Meadows plan fall through.[7]

Proposed Bronx plan (2013–2015)Edit

After the Queens proposal was scrapped, there was a proposal to build the stadium in the borough of the Bronx adjacent to Yankee Stadium.[10] On 13 June 2013, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr. wrote an open letter to Garber, imploring him to consider his borough as an alternative location given the issues surrounding the Queens location, though by this time New York City FC and its owners had taken over the bulk of the work in selecting a location.[11]

The club plans to play at Yankee Stadium for an unspecified number of years.[12] Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City F.C., stated the team "will have to play in a temporary location for two years, maybe three."[13]

On 29 August 2013, plans for a proposed nine-acre complex near Yankee Stadium, between the Major Deegan Expressway and East 153rd Street, were leaked. Randy Levine, the president of the Yankees, confirmed these reports, but stated that any plans were far from final.[14]

In December 2013, the team and Mayor Bloomberg's administration were close to an agreement over a $350 million stadium near Yankee Stadium. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who replaced Bloomberg in January 2014, expressed opposition to the deal, as it involved tax breaks, public financing and a sale or lease of public land. The plan requires buying land currently occupied by a factory, which would have to be rebuilt at another location and demolishing a parking garage, potentially leaving the city responsible for its $240 million debt.[15]

In March 2015, New York property lawyer Martin Edelman, a member of Manchester City's board of directors, said that NYCFC had abandoned the Bronx plan and were looking at locations in Queens and Brooklyn to build a new stadium.[16]

Proposed Columbia University plan (2015–2016)Edit

In April 2015, NYCFC was reported to be interested in building a new stadium in Columbia University's Baker Athletics Complex in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan. The 17,000 seat Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium would be demolished and replaced with a $400 million 25,000 seat stadium to be used by NYCFC and the Columbia Lions.[2]

A report came out days later from a source familiar with the preliminary meeting between Columbia University and NYCFC about the clubs possible relocation to the university saying that it is "beyond premature" and "at the end of the day, there's really nothing going on." "There's nothing to discuss because it's not even at the embryonic stage." New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez issued a statement saying the news of a possible stadium in his district was "deeply troubling" and that he was "irked" by what he read in the report. Councilman Rodriguez also said “Any group with a real intention to develop any possible project should start by engaging the surrounding community that will be directly impacted by the proposal and its elected leaders. For years community residents in this area have worked hard to ensure that the quality of life in this area is maintained, and I believe that in order to preserve and build upon their gains, community engagement in this process is of utmost importance.”[17]

As of October 2016 the pursuit of the Baker Athletics Complex as a potential stadium site appears to have been abandoned. According to NYCFC president Jon Patricof "there's nothing new to report" on the search for a stadium site.[18]

Proposed Belmont Park plan (2017)Edit

In February 2017, it was reported that New York City FC had expressed interest in having its own soccer-specific stadium at a site within Belmont Park in Elmont, New York just outside the city limits in Nassau County.[19] The club participated in site development talks in January 2017, though they did not enter active negotiations. Belmont Park had previously been the proposed stadium site for the New York Cosmos of the Division II North American Soccer League, but the Cosmos proposal was rejected by the Empire State Development Corporation in December 2016.[20]

On August 17, 2017, partners from the offices of architect Rafael Viñoly and facility management firm Proleisure attended a site visit hosted by the Empire State Development Corporation. The visit was held for any parties that were interested in submitting a proposal by September 28, 2017 to develop the site.[21]

By the end of August, NYCFC team president Jon Patricof had a series of meetings with season ticket holders about the club's stadium situation. In those meetings, he told the fans that "Nobody is all that interested in (the Belmont site)," and that he personally thought it was "too far away for a permanent home".[22] Patricof also said that while the club had investigated dozens of potential sites, the list had at that point been reduced to three, and that if a deal was announced by the end of 2017 it would likely be in Queens or the Bronx.[22]

On September 25, 2017, it was reported that NYCFC will be submitting a proposal to build a soccer-specific stadium on the 43-acre (17 ha) site at Belmont Park. The club is partnering with real-estate developer Related Companies for its proposal.[23] On December 19, 2017, the site was selected as the new home for the New York Islanders' 18,000-seat arena, effectively ending the plans to build the stadium.[24]

Proposed Harlem River Yards plan (2018)Edit

In April 2018, new plans for the Harlem River Yards development in the South Bronx were revealed, for the land north of the Willis Avenue Bridge; the area would be anchored by the new stadium of 26,000 seats, which would be designed by Rafael Viñoly.[25] On April 25, 2018, it was reported by club president Jon Patricof that the club is focusing on other sites more seriously than Harlem Yards. “We submitted something to the State [of New York] as part of a request for expressions of interest,” said Patricof about the Harlem River Yards site. “But that's it. That site is not an active site.”[26]

Revived Bronx plan (2018–2021)Edit

In July 2018, New York City FC was linked to a development project that would put a stadium in the South Bronx between Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Terminal Market. The 20-acre (8.1 ha) proposal also included a "park, hotel and conference center, affordable apartment units, office space, a school, and retail."[27] This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the team, stating that the club "is actively pursuing a permanent home in N.Y.C. and exploring several options, including working with Maddd Equities in the Bronx. We continue to engage in meaningful dialogue to understand what may be feasible on their site."

In February 2019, the Bronx Community Board 4 specifically cited the potential stadium in their 2020 Fiscal Plan: "Bronx Point which will include 1,000 units of affordable housing, a cinema, retail and office space and the Hip Hop Museum, the Bronx Children's Museum and the potential development of a soccer stadium, hotel and other uses on city-owned parcels subleased to Bronx Parking Development, underscore the critical need to develop the 153rd Street Bridge."[28] This marked the second time the stadium was on the Board's official docket (the first being in October 2018), hinting that talks between the development group and the community could be in an advanced stage.

On October 2019, a notable meeting was held by the Bronx Community Board 4 to discuss the potential impact of the stadium in their neighborhood. The meeting, which took place in the New Settlement Community Center located in the Bronx, brought together community leaders with "a little over 20 NYCFC fans."[29] While the meeting did not result in a final conclusion, first-hand accounts said conversations were positive and in support of a potential stadium.

In February 2020, ahead of the team's sixth season and first-ever games in the CONCACAF Champions League, the New York Times reported on the proposed deal. Quoted in the article was a representative of New York City Economic Development Corporation, confirming the city's support for the development plan. "It’s long past time to make the underutilized parking lots around Yankee Stadium into something more...the city has been approached by a team of affordable housing developers, the Yankees and the N.Y.C. Football Club."[30] Despite the support, the representative stressed that "a deal has not been reached, and more conversations are needed."

Appearing on an episode of Forbes' "SportsMoney" television program in June 2021, Randy Levine, President of the New York Yankees and an Officer of Yankee Global Enterprises, said that we will know "in the next 30 to 60 days" if the plan will happen or not.[31] While this would not be the first timetable for a formal announcement given for this project, Levine did provide additional details on what is holding up the process: "There are parcels of land that are still uncertain, that have to be accumulated."

On October 24, 2021, The City reported that stadium negotiations between the Yankees and the New York City Economic Development Corporation collapsed due to a dispute over 5,000 parking spaces in a city-owned garage. Randy Levine told Fox Business “The deal broke down over the bondholders and the city refusing to do what they agreed to do,”. Community support appears to be waning as well according to a recent August 2021 survey of 200 local residents and workers. The survey, conducted by the 161st Street Business Improvement District (BID), a group of south Bronx businesses, found that 56% of those surveyed supported the idea of a new soccer-specific stadium. That's down from 67% in 2019, which according to the BID, reflects concerns that the partnership of the Yankees, City Football Group and housing developers could ignore the surrounding neighborhood's needs.[32]

In a November interview with WFAN (AM) club CEO Brad Sims stated the project did not progress throughout the summer and is not actively pursuing the site; with all the focus now being shifted to the Queens project.[33]

Proposed Willets Point plan (2019–)Edit

On January 17, 2019, the New York City Mayor's office released two development proposals for Willets Point, an industrial neighborhood in Queens. One of the said proposals "calls for a soccer stadium of up to 25,000 seats."[34] Located just east of Citi Field and north of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the soccer specific venue would share parking with the existing baseball stadium.

While the proposal never mentioned New York City FC by name, speculation linked the site and the club as The Related Companies, the developers behind the proposed Harlem River Yards plan, are also spearheading this development. Queensboro FC had been linked to the site initially, but has since been confirmed to play in a new stadium at York College.[35][36]


  1. ^ New York City FC fittingly celebrate their first home game with a first win
  2. ^ a b Bagli, Charles V.; Das, Andrew (28 April 2015). "New York City F.C., Searching for Stadium Site, Is Considering Columbia Athletic Complex". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
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  24. ^ "Sources: Islanders' arena bid picked for Belmont Park". 19 December 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
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  28. ^ "Statements of Community District Needs and Community Board Budget Requests" (PDF).
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  34. ^ "City releases two Willets Point proposals". Crain's New York Business. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
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