Yankees to drop stadium bomb

This just in: Crain’s is reporting that the New York Yankees will announce “within the next two weeks” plans for a new $750 million stadium, to be built across the street from Yankee Stadium in what’s currently Macombs Dam Park. Yankee sources say the team would pay for replacing the most popular ballpark in baseball with their own money, with two caveats:

  • The Yankees would seek tax-exempt Industrial Development Authority bonds, which are normally restricted to public and non-profit projects, and which could run afoul of the same tax-exempt bond rules as the Jets are currently grappling with.
  • Taxpayers would have to spend $450 million on a hotel and conference center, a new Metro-North commuter train stop, and a ferry landing, as well as new parks elsewhere in the Bronx to replace Macombs Dam, as required by state law.

The Crain’s story leaves more questions than answers: Where would the $450 million would come from? Who would get to run (and collect the revenues from) the hotel and conference center? What would happen to the House That Ruth Built? (Presumably it would be demolished to make way for either parking or the hotel.)

It seems an odd time for the Yankees to make a push for public funds – they’re easily the richest team in baseball, and New York is already facing stadium-subsidy demands from both the Jets and Nets – but then, it’s not like George Steinbrenner to sit by idly while other sports moguls rake in public dollars. If he can’t latch onto the coattails of the Jets and Nets gravy train, The Boss would no doubt be satisfied if he can make damned sure that no one else is getting rich aside from him.

Late note: Astute reader Andrew Ross reminds me that the Mets lease with the city guarantees them the next new major-league baseball stadium built in New York. While it’s possible the Yankees are hoping to get around this by avoiding public money for stadium construction – “No, really, your honor, that $450 million went into the other pocket!” – this could trigger a renewal of the Mets’ demands for a new retractable-roofed stadium in the Shea Stadium parking lot. In 1998, a new Mets stadium was estimated to cost $500 million – lord only knows what that would come to in 21st-century dollars.

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