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November 16, 2005
Latest Yankees subsidy: free parking
Ka-ching! That's the sound of the projected New York Yankees stadium subsidies going up, by another $75 million.
As you may recall, the original stadium announcement back in June had New York state kicking in $70 million to build new parking garages (plus another $5 million for a "capital reserve fund"), but that the public would be reimbursed by getting parking revenues from the new structures. In the city's draft environmental impact statement on the project, though, it states that the garage cost is actually $234.8 million, with no indication who would pay the remainder of the tab.
The answer, according to the city parks department: The city plans to contract out to a private development firm that would build the garages, in exchange for getting all parking revenues. The state will still kick in $70 million, but will receive bupkis. (The city would get an as-yet-undetermined "ground rent" from the developer.) I'd deducted the garage costs after the state said it would recoup its investment from parking revenues, but now we need to add them back into our running total for George Steinbrenner & Co.:
- YANKEES: $454-544 million ($140m in city funds, $70 million in state parking garage subsidies, $5 million in state "capital reserve" funds, $15m in city rent rebates on current stadium, $0-90m in Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital expenses, $55m in tax-exempt bond subsidies, $44m in property-tax savings, $22m in sales-tax breaks on construction materials, $103m in forgone city rent revenues)
Moreover, the new garage revelations raise even more troubling questions. What happens if the garages run over budget? What if no private developer thinks plunking down $160 million to build parking garages is a good investment? (Doing the math, 5,254 parking spaces at $25 a pop for 81 games a year would equal about $10.6 million a year in revenue, for a craptacular 6.6% return on investment.) And what about the loss of city parking revenues from the 1350 existing spaces to be eliminated by new construction?
All these issues and more will be raised, by yours truly if necessary, at tomorrow (Thursday) night's town meeting at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, 224 E. 163rd St. (two blocks east of Grand Concourse), at 6 pm. See you there.