New Shea Stadium Plan Gets 1st OK
New York Mets owner Jeff Wilpon said the stadium will be “the linchpin of the revitalization of the area surrounding current Shea Stadium.”
If the plans receive final approval, construction would begin this spring and be completed by Opening Day in 2009.
At the same time, the ESDC also announced approval of plans for a new Yankee Stadium, which would be built in a city park adjacent to the existing “house that Ruth-built.” Both stadiums would be privately financed by the respective teams.
The next step in the approval process for both ballparks is public hearings, then final approval by the ESDC directors.
Wilpon, Mets’ Chief Operating Officer, said, “We remain committed to our ongoing dialogue with borough, city and state officials to build our new, privately financed ballpark within the property lines of our current facility. We are confident the ballpark will be an entertainment destination and attraction of which Queens and all New York City and New York state will be proud.”
Wilpon’s vision of the new ballpark sparking the revitalization of the surrounding area is shared by many public officials and community activists, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
The focal point of that dream is the elimination of the 48-acre Willets Point auto junk yards. But a number of owners in the area, separate from the auto chop shops, may stand in the way of that goal.
Meanwhile, ESDC Chairman Charles A. Gargano said the city and state are making an economic development investment that not only will assist with the development of new Mets and Yankee stadiums, but will also result in significant infrastructure improvements for the surrounding communities.
Gargano added, “This smart investment will create thousands of temporary and permanent jobs and yield hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue in the coming years.”
The new Shea Stadium will rise on the site of the present stadium parking lot. It will be an open-air, seven-level facility with 42,500 seats, standing room for 1,600 fans, and approximately 50 to 60 suites to be occupied by corporate entities.
There will be 8,800 parking spaces onsite and adjacent to the stadium. This will no doubt be a good selling point for present fans who often must park at least a 15-minute walk from the stadium.
The project will cost about $621 million, with construction of the stadium accounting for almost $445 million and the remainder for infrastructure and parking facilities. Infrastructure improvement costs break down to $85 million from the city, $70 million from the ESDC. The Mets will be responsible for stadium construction and related infrastructure improvements.
The Mets are committed to playing 81 home games and staying put for 35 years.
The project will generate about 3,532 direct construction jobs and 453 permanent stadium jobs afterward. Tax benefits accruing to the city and state from these jobs will be an estimated $17 million (city) and $26 million (state).
Overall, the fiscal benefits from the new stadium operations will be $77 million for the city and $86 million for the state. This includes sales taxes from spending by visitors, sales taxes from income spending and personal income taxes from jobs created, plus taxes on parking and other miscellaneous taxes.