- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On June 27, 2012
- 2 Comments
- Features, MLS Expansion, New York Expansion
Major League Soccer’s desire for a 20th club in New York City has been reported for what seems like ages now. Getting a stadium in one of the five boroughs has always been a challenge though. The Wall Street Journal reported late last night that the league is zeroing in on a site in Queens near Citi Field that could be their lucky spot to build a stadium.
After a wide search, Major League Soccer officials have zeroed in on a run-down section of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens as their preferred site for the league’s first New York stadium, according to multiple officials briefed on the matter.
In recent weeks, top MLS officials have presented a detailed proposal to local politicians, outlining a plan for a 20,000- to 25,000-seat stadium on roughly eight acres near the northern end of the park.
As part of the proposal, MLS would also refurbish public soccer fields on the site and create a cricket field and volleyball courts, according to people familiar with the plans.
MLS confirmed that it is in discussions with city and local Queens officials about the Flushing Meadows site. Most of the spot is now dominated by a six-acre concrete pool that is fenced-off and filled with stagnant water.
The journal’s article went on to say that the league has also looked at locations including including Willets Point in Queens and Pier 40 in Hudson River Park. Neither turned up to be doable.
A home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park would put the stadium near other major sports venues, Citi Field and the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center. Not to mention near plenty of public transportation stops that the league has a desire to be close to.
The stadium is said to be privately financed which is always a plus in some folks eyes but will come with some challenges. Because the stadium would be built on city-owned park land, the project would need approval from both the City Council and the New York state Legislature. To make up for the lost green space, the league would also have to create roughly eight acres of new park land elsewhere in the city.
So far everything sounds positive from the league, the city and state officials and other folks involved. Obviously this is going to be a slow moving project for all sides involved. I’d imagine on the fast track if this thing happens, a stadium won’t be finished until at least 2015 or 2016. Just too much to do before shovels can actually hit the ground.
I do admit I like the idea of a team in Queens for the league. I was in New York two years ago and made a few stops in Queens and loved that area where City Field is located. It seemed like a good area for the league to go into. Others that live there may have other/better ideas but from an outsiders’ view, it seems like a good fit.