Crunching the Bronx soccer numbers: Total city subsidy now at $206.5m

I finally tracked down some figures for the value of the 99-year property tax break that New York City F.C. is looking to get as part of its Bronx soccer stadium deal, and the good news is that it’s not quite as spendy as I’d initially estimated. According to calculations by Ana Champeny of the New York City Independent Budget Office, the lots currently occupied by the triangle garage building and the GAL Manufacturing elevator parts company building have a market value of about $32 million, and an assessed value of about $14 million. This would make their annual property tax liability about $1.4 million currently, which, if you assume it will grow about 3% a year and apply a discount rate of 5%, comes to a present value of about $60 million for the 99 years of lost tax revenue.

(Note that most of the property in question — the garage — doesn’t actually pay property taxes, as it’s owned by the city. But there would be no reason not to charge property taxes if it were used for a private soccer stadium. Actually, there’s no reason for it not to pay property taxes now, but that’s a separate issue.)

Under the deal being proposed by the team (worked out with the administration of now-no-longer-mayor Michael Bloomberg), the project would also get $21.5 million in other tax breaks, plus 38 years of free rent — since we know how much the team would have to pay just to buy the property outright, we can probably assume the present value of fair market rent would be worth slightly less than that, say $25 million. That puts the total value of the tax and rent breaks for NYC F.C. at $106.5 million. If you add in the $100 million in garage rent IOUs that the city would be tearing up, we get a total subsidy of $206.5 million.

Even if a large chunk of that is admittedly money the city would likely never see regardless, that’s still a pretty hefty housewarming gift to be handing over to a project that’s only expected to cost $350 million to build. It’ll be interesting to see if this gets raised at Wednesday’s town hall, or if the focus remains solely on what’s in it for the Bronx.

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