New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has revealed plans for a $8bn (£6.5bn/€7.5bn) mixed-use development on land surrounding the Major League Baseball (MLB) club’s home, Citi Field.
Metropolitan Park will seek to transform the 50 acres of asphalt around Citi Field into a sports and entertainment park that will feature the likes of a music venue and casino. “It’s time the world’s greatest city got the sports and entertainment park it deserves,” said Cohen.
“When I bought this team, fans and the community kept saying we needed to do better. Metropolitan Park delivers on the promise of a shared space that people will not only want to come to and enjoy, but can be truly proud of.”
The team brought together to deliver Metropolitan Park includes: Hard Rock International, SHoP Architects, Field Operations and McKissack. For over 85 years, the project’s backers say the targeted site has been nothing but parking lots that have not served the community or fans to its full potential. The site’s “historic challenges and significant complexity” is claimed to have led to the area being under-developed, isolated, and environmentally strained.
Over the last three years, Cohen and his team have met with community groups, elected officials, Mets fans and those who live and work in the surrounding neighbourhoods to develop a vision that would give life to a sports and entertainment park. There have been over 15 community workshops resulting in thousands of ideas, hundreds of meetings with local leaders, and over 20,000 door-to-door conversations with local residents. The project’s backers claim that over 89% of those that have been engaged door-to-door have signed a petition in support of the venture.
Through an $8bn investment, Metropolitan Park intends to deliver:
- An entertainment complex with a Hard Rock hotel, live music venue, and gaming.
- 20 acres of new park space and five acres of community athletic fields and playgrounds
- Climate-ready infrastructure including solar, green roofs, and flood mitigation
- New connections to the waterfront, park, and surrounding community
- A Queens food hall
- An accessible and renovated mass transit station
- Improved and modernised road network, bike paths, and parking infrastructure
Over two million people already come to Citi Field every year and millions more attend games, events, and tournaments at the USTA National Tennis Center, home of the US Open grand slam tournament, while 22 million people travel through LaGuardia Airport next door.
The site will also be home to a planned new stadium for Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise New York City FC. This wide-ranging scheme moved a step closer last month with the beginning of the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP).
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.
“Hard Rock at Metropolitan Park will be rooted in the spirit of music while embracing the unique culture and character of Queens,” said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International.
“Metropolitan Park captures the energy and vision of bringing people together for memorable shared experiences that exemplifies the company’s mottos to Love All Serve All, All is One, Save Time to Be Kind and Save the Planet. We’re excited to bring our unique brand of world class entertainment to Queens.”
However, the New York Post notes that the project faces a number of challenges. As the land is legally designated as parkland, Cohen would require the state legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul to pass a law allowing commercial development there, while the casino element would need approval from state gaming regulators.