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Design & Development

NYCFC stadium project enters key land-use approval process

The wide-ranging project to deliver a new stadium for Major League Soccer team New York City FC has moved a step closer with the beginning of the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP).

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced the formal beginning of the ULURP yesterday (Monday). The Willets Point revitalisation plan will include a new 25,000-seat stadium for NYCFC in the borough of Queens, with the wider project to also feature 2,500 new affordable homes, over 40,000 square feet of open public space, a hotel, and retail space.

Plans for the project, formally known as Willets Point Phase 2, were first announced in November last year by Mayor Eric Adams and City Council Member Francisco Moya. In April, HOK and Turner were selected as the architect and general contractor, respectively, for the stadium, and the first set of renderings were revealed the following month.

The $780m (£641m/€738m) project will deliver more affordable housing than any other housing development in New York City since the 1980s. The privately-financed stadium will be the first soccer-specific stadium in New York City and the first major-league sports venue to be developed in the city since 2012, when Barclays Center opened its doors as the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

Following yesterday’s announcement, Moya said: “We are one step closer to finalising a project that has it all. This is a once-in-a-generation project that prioritises housing in a city that is currently facing a severe housing crisis.

“It’s not just about providing homes but also about creating stable job opportunities, helping alleviate the burden of our neighbouring schools which are overcapacity, enhancing open spaces, and establishing a state-of-the-art privately-funded soccer stadium, which will act as the economic engine driving this entire vision.”

Marty Edelman, NYCFC vice-chairman, added: “For 10 years, NYCFC proudly invested in our great city with a focus on soccer and community. Today marks the continuation of the conversation with the community and elected officials to approve our building a privately-funded soccer stadium with 100% union labour alongside our development partner QDG (Queens Development Group), who will anchor this new community by delivering 2,500 units of 100% affordable housing.

“Queens and New York City need and deserve this transformational new community in Willets Point. We promised our growing fan base we would build their home in the five boroughs, and with their continued enthusiastic support, we continue our journey to have that home as part of this unprecedented new housing community.”

QDG, a joint venture between Related Companies and Sterling Equities, will oversee the stadium and district’s development. NYCFC plans to open the stadium in 2027, a year after the US co-hosts the FIFA World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico.

The overall 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.

NYCFC has primarily played at Yankee Stadium since debuting in MLS in 2015. It is hoped the 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.