Thank god for Twitter, or else I would have missed this tidbit buried in Dana Rubinstein’s Capital New York article on possible alternative sites for a Queens MLS stadium:
[Pratt Institute planning center chair John] Shapiro had another idea, too: why doesn’t Major League Soccer consider building a stadium on an M.T.A.-controlled site south of Roosevelt Avenue and east of the walkway that takes pedestrians from the subway to the park, on what is now a bus depot?…
According to the M.T.A., the authority actually suggested to M.L.S. that it consider building its stadium there, but M.L.S. wasn’t interested.
According to M.L.S., a railyard platform would be prohibitively expensive, costing more than $100 million.
(If the league built in the park, it would be on the hook for the cost of converting an equal amount of land elsewhere in the city into useable parkland. M.L.S. is assuming that the cost of doing that would be far less than that prohibitive $100 million.)
So basically, MLS wants to build in a park because it’d be cheaper, and it’d be cheaper because they wouldn’t have to pay rent or property taxes. One obvious solution: If Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants a stadium built without infuriating Queens residents who are tired of seeing their park carved up like swiss cheese, he could tell MLS that it can have its property tax breaks and rent-free land, but only if it accepts a site that’s not currently public parkland. Assuming, that is, that’s what the mayor really wants.