Speaking of deciding what to demand in exchange for support for a project, local activists who’ve raised concerns about the proposed $350 million NYC F.C. Bronx soccer stadium have started to drop hints at what they’ll be looking to get out of the deal:
Killian Jordan, who actively protested [the New York Yankees' new stadium] … hopes for a better deal this time around, and is looking at the nearby Kingsbridge Armory deal for inspiration. In that deal, approved this month by the City Council, the developers of what will be the world’s largest ice rink center agreed to a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in which they promised to hire locally, provide a 50,000-square-foot community space and fund local skating lessons.
Allowing locals inside the stadium on non-game days may prove crucial in winning community support. [161th Street Business Improvement District director Cary] Goodman suggested an indoor fitness center as something locals could rally around.
“If they are going to build this stadium, they should let our kids in,” Jordan said. “They need to open it up so the people here can set foot in it.”
The Kingsbridge Armory CBA was hammered out after years of squabbles with community leaders and Bronx elected officials, and includes provisions on living-wage jobs, community use of the space, and other concessions to benefit the Kingsbridge neighborhood. Something similar could certainly be required for a Bronx soccer stadium — though it wouldn’t address new mayor Bill de Blasio’s expressed concerns about the project, which is all the city tax and rent breaks it would receive (possibly as much as $150-200 million, according to my back-of-the-envelope guesstimate).
Of course, it’s not clear yet what any eventual community coalition will look like, or whether Jordan and Goodman would end up the main residents who city officials would be seeking to placate with a CBA. Or whether city officials are even going to be the placators and not the placatees, once de Blasio takes office. It’s still very early in the game here, and people are still jockeying for position — but remember that especially in the Bronx, setting your payoff price is the name of the game.