Plans have been unveiled for a first permanent stadium for Major League Soccer team New York City FC in the borough of Queens, with the 25,000-seat facility slated to open in 2027.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams yesterday (Wednesday) unveiled his administration’s vision for the next phase of the transformation of the Willets Point community in Queens.
NYCFC will serve as a partner in the Willets Point project alongside Queens Development Group, a joint venture of Related Companies and Sterling Equities. As well as the 25,000-seat stadium, the development will feature 2,500 new affordable homes, over 40,000 square feet of open public space, a hotel, and retail space.
The entire project is expected to generate $6.1bn (£5.1bn/€5.9bn) in economic impact over the next 30 years, creating 1,550 permanent jobs and 14,200 construction jobs. Willets Point will be within walking distance of Citi Field, home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open grand slam tournament.
NYCFC has primarily played at Yankee Stadium, home of MLB’s New York Yankees, since debuting in MLS in 2015 and has also been forced to play some games at Citi Field and Red Bull Arena, home of MLS rival New York Red Bulls. The club has long sought its own stadium, with a number of proposals having failed to come to fruition.
The Willets Point land is owned by New York City, which will lease it to NYCFC and the aforementioned development team. The New York Times reported earlier this week that the club will pay up to $4m per year to lease the land for 49 years. NYCFC will also hold an option for a 25-year extension to the agreement.
The NYCFC stadium will be the first major-league sports venue of note to be developed in New York since 2012, when Barclays Center, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, opened its doors.
NYCFC will construct the privately-financed stadium with union labour, with plans to open it in 2027, a year after the US co-hosts the FIFA World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico. It is hoped the new stadium will make New York City a “national soccer capital” and lay the groundwork for a club that won its first MLS title last year.
The project will need to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process, including an environmental review, and the New York City Public Design Commission. The ULURP process is expected to start by the end of 2023.
Mayor Adams said: “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a brand-new neighbourhood, a Willets Point that offers real opportunity for working people and all New Yorkers.
“Our plan will deliver 2,500 affordable homes – New York City’s largest fully affordable housing project in decades. And with a fully privately financed soccer stadium, a hotel, and local retail, we will create not only homes but also quality jobs, $6bn in economic activity, and a true pathway to the middle class. This is what it means to build a ‘City of Yes’.”
Marty Edelman, vice-chairman of NYCFC, added: “New York City Football Club is proud to stand with Mayor Adams, Councilmember Francisco Moya, and union brothers and sisters to announce our privately financed soccer-specific stadium in Queens.
“Our club has been investing in New York City for over a decade, and we are eager to invest these funds to help build a new community for our first team, our dedicated fans, and our great city.”