The proposed NYC F.C. soccer stadium adjacent to new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx already was facing “real concerns” from new mayor Bill de Blasio, demands for community benefits from local residents, and a rising subsidy price tag, but it just hit what could be an even more formidable obstacle: Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, the current frontrunner to be city council speaker, just saw her district lines redrawn to include the proposed stadium site, and is not happy with the current form of the deal, according to Capital New York’s Dana Rubinstein:
[Mark-Viverito] believes the incentives reportedly negotiated as part of a possible deal between the Bloomberg administration and the New York City Football Club are too generous, according to two sources familiar with her thinking.
It’s worth noting that in addition to being co-chair of the council’s Progressive Caucus, Mark-Viverito also has a record of skepticism about stadium subsidies: During the council’s rubber-stamping of the Yankees‘ own stadium plan in 2006, she was one of the few members to ask tough questions about the deal, and was one of only two members to vote against the team’s now-collapsing garage financing plan (though she voted for the stadium itself). While it’s unlikely she’d oppose an NYC F.C. stadium on ideological grounds — especially if local community leaders end up backing it — she’s certainly likely to drive a hard bargain.
Of course, it’s still possible that Mark-Viverito’s speaker campaign will fall apart: Already this week she’s been charged with failing to report income from apartments she owns on city disclosure forms, accused of having her allies threaten councilmembers with retribution if they didn’t vote for her, and sued for having a santeria chicken head painted on a rival’s building. (Her rival Daniel Garodnick just has the real estate industry casting aspersions on his behalf.) Even if she’s not speaker, though, as local council representative for the stadium site, she’ll have huge pull in deciding what happens to the project. And suffice to say she’s not likely to be a Maria del Carmen Arroyo.