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Design & Development

NYCFC unveils first renderings of soccer-specific stadium

Images: NYCFC

Major League Soccer team New York City FC has released the first set of renderings of its proposed 25,000-seat stadium in the borough of Queens.

The renderings were unveiled by NYCFC, Related Companies and Sterling Equities yesterday (Wednesday) during a meeting with Queens Community Board 7 which saw the parties discuss proposed visualisations for the wider Willets Point revitalisation plan.

Plans for NYCFC’s first permanent stadium were first unveiled in November and the club hopes to move into the facility in 2027. NYCFC, which has primarily played at Yankee Stadium since debuting in MLS in 2015, will serve as a partner in the $780m (£620m/€713m) Willets Point project, which will feature 2,500 new affordable homes, over 40,000 square feet of open public space, a hotel, and retail space.

At the time, the club released a concept image of the proposed stadium. Last month, HOK was selected as the architect and Turner Construction Company was named as the general contract to design and build the stadium, which will be the first soccer-specific venue in New York City.

The new images show active open common areas that will provide space for sitting, food carts, greenery, exercise and other recreational uses for the community. Residents and visitors will also have access to pedestrianised community thoroughfares allowing for family-friendly amenities.

Renderings also showcase the stadium’s activated cube entranceway, which on match days will be illuminated with vibrant imagery. Aerial views of the neighbourhood also show how the project would transform the patch of land into an “interconnected” new community. The images also include a headquarters for NYCFC’s foundation, City in the Community.

The presentation to the Community Board 7 provided locals with a first look into NYCFC’s vision for the project, which will be designed to serve as a local community resource on non-match days.

The club said the renderings further contextualise the five core design principles: creating the best live fan experience in New York City, authentically representing the city, embedding the stadium into the community, building a “future forward” stadium, and modelling sustainability.

The proposal is set to enter the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process for additional community input later this year. 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 in 2021.

New York City Councilmember Francisco Moya said: “As if the dynamic plans to transform Willets Point to an affordable new community for thousands of New Yorkers and a destination for so many others were not inspiring enough, these initial designs make it even more so.

“The integration of the residential buildings with the open space and stadium is a true model for how neighbourhoods should be built, and is a critical step for how this vision will come to life in a way that puts housing first, prioritises the pedestrian experience and will be built with union labour.

“The welcoming ‘front door’ to the new Willets serves as a powerful symbol of investment in a corner of Queens that has languished for too long but stands to become a beacon for the borough and the city.”

Rashed Singaby, principal and senior project designer at HOK, added: “The design of NYCFC’s new stadium celebrates diversity, community and the love of the sport, creating a hospitality-driven experience unique to its location in Queens, the world’s borough.

“Our design team has created a sustainable, technology-driven experience and integrated the stadium into the context of a future district. Our goal is to establish a connected urban amenity for the community and an unprecedented live event experience. We’re looking forward to the stadium becoming a centrepiece for the vibrant Queens community.”

The entire project is expected to generate $6.1bn 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.

The NYCFC stadium will be the first major-league sports venue of note to be developed in New York City since 2012, when Barclays Center, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, opened its doors.

Queens Development Group, a joint venture between Related Companies and Sterling Equities, will oversee the stadium and district’s development. 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.