De Blasio expresses “real concerns” about NYCFC tax-break plan

When last we left off with New York City Football Club trillionaire owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s proposed $400 million soccer stadium in the Bronx (projected public cost in tax breaks and free land: something like $150 million or so), everyone was wondering what mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s reaction was going to be to outgoing mayor Mike Bloomberg’s deal, given that de Blasio has a mixed record on subsidized development projects. And now, the great wizard has spoken, or at least his spokesperson has:

Lis Smith, a de Blasio spokeswoman, said, “We have real concerns about investing scarce public resources and forgoing revenue to support the creation of an arena for a team co-owned by one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, and will review any plan with that in mind.”

That’s not exactly a “no,” but it sure ain’t a “yes.” Bloomberg is reportedly including a clause in the agreement that would require de Blasio to make a decision by March or the whole deal is off, but that could end up backfiring on Mansour if the new mayor says it’s not enough time to review the use of those public resources. Right now local elected officials aren’t exactly jumping all over themselves to back the deal — even Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who previously invited the team to move to his borough, has declared himself undecided, though in Bronxspeak that usually means “sweeten the pot, woudja?” — so expect some frantic lobbying after January 1 once the old guard has departed and fresh blood has arrived at City Hall.

5 comments on “De Blasio expresses “real concerns” about NYCFC tax-break plan

  1. Neil, the strategy of pushing it quickly is actually not a bad one. Why? Its not really forcing a “YES” Why is that? 1: You know and I know that the Stadium will have to go through the ULURP, which takes two years, and there is no guarantee that it will be approved (let alone as is). Even an “Easy” Sports-Related Project like Kingsbridge National Ice Center almost went down in flames. 2: Eventually there will be a Stadium built. It could take five years, it could take ten years, but it will happen. The only questions are (1) Where? (2) How much is the cost? 3: What else (besides $$$$) is involved? If something can be built by using the garages as opposed to say parks, why not at least listen? The NO option will still be there via the ULURP.

  2. ULURP takes ten months. But I’d say the risk here for NYCFC is that de Blasio says “Sorry, can’t decide that fast,” and then Mansour has to decide whether to admit his bluff has been called.

  3. Unless de Blasio says, “Tentative okay, we’ll work out the details during ULURP.” Which is clearly what Mansour is hoping for, but no sure thing.

  4. Neil when I mean ULURP taking two years, I am referring to taking things to CB 8, then Diaz, then City Planning (including the process of De Blasio appointees getting up to speed), then the City Council approving, disapproving, or modifying things. I also think another factor will be how many proposals go through City Planning, Landmarks, and the rest. My gut feeling is you will see far fewer proposals going forward than under Bloomberg. One reason being, Gail Brewer and Eric Adams will be much tougher for Developers to deal with than say Stringer and Markowitz, which should lighten the load for Mansour getting his Stadium through.

  5. That’s what I meant, too. The timeline from announcement of the first scoping hearing through CB hearing and vote, city planning hearing and vote, and city council hearing and vote is ten months.