When somebody (presumably the developers) leaked plans last week for a South Bronx development plan that would include an NYC F.C. soccer stadium — and as much as $422 million in land subsidies — the state Empire State Development agency immediately disavowed any notion that it was a done deal, while the soccer team itself remained mum. They’ve broken their silence now, though, and appear to be backing away from the plan as fast as humanly possible:
New York City FC president Jon Patricof says that a tract of land at Harlem River Yards is not an area of focus for a proposed stadium site…
“We submitted something to the State [of New York] as part of a request for expressions of interest,” said Patricof about the Harlem River Yards site. “But that’s it. That site is not an active site.”
That’s not a definitive “no way, no how,” but it’s pretty close — after all, if Patricof just wanted to say that lots of sites were still under consideration including the Harlem River yards, he could have just said that. “Not an active site” is as much cold water as he can possibly throw on it without shrieking “No, no, a thousand times no!”
If I had to take a wild-ass guess, I would say that it sounds like the developers were looking to place a bid on the South Bronx land, thought, “Hey, I bet we could get some additional support for this if it looked like we were solving NYC F.C.’s stadium problem,” asked the team, “Mind if we include you in this?” and the team owners said, “Sure, what the hell.” But now that it looks controversial — in addition to the hugely discounted land price, local organizers have long sought this parcel to be part of a waterfront greenway — NYC F.C.’s owners (the Abu Dhabi royal family and the Yankees, pretty much) figure there are better places to cast their bets. Even if this plan did have some affordable housing to make the mayor happy and light-up bridges to please the governor.