It might still be possible to meet the time frame set out in early 2020, despite the pandemic having paralysed New York for months. As outlined by The Outfield, work on the new MLS stadium in New York is still ongoing, even if behind the scenes.
Back in February, New York City FC have informed they are intending to go public with their plans for the long-awaited home within the comming months. But a few weeks later the metropolis was already in the grips of COVID-19, with infections skyrocketing every day. It wasn't until September that some proceedings resumed and it's thus no wonder that no news of the stadium was presented.
What hasn't changed is the location. Ever since in 2018 news surfaced that NYCFC are looking again at moving to a plot just south of Yankee Stadium, work has been focused on delivering a stadium on the site. It was previously analysed back in 2013.
It almost seems natural, with the Yankees being shareholders of NYCFC (20% stake) and the club using Yankee Stadium as its interim home for years already. It makes the most sense to stay within the area where a community has grown around the club. The area is also serviced by 2 metro lines and has great expressway access.
The plot includes three major elements. The first one is the Quik Park multi-level parking. Removing this facility isn't an issue. The second is GAL Manufacturing, an elevator part factory. While GAL has been looking for a place to relocate to, the company doesn't want to leave the Bronx in order to remain within range for its employees. As of now no site to move to has been found.
Then there's the third element: the off-ramp from the Major Deagan Expressway. It joins East 153rd Street at a place which would be removed in order to accommodate the new stadium. No use for any ramp then, right? Absolutely, but this generates a number of issues.
First, the traffic. A number of analyses were ran and local traffic would not be impacted severely by lack of this connection. On a couple conditions, however, like ensuring that NYCFC would never play at the same time as Yankees. But that provision would likely have to be included anyway.
The bigger issue is what should happen to the off-ramp when it's no longer connected. NYCFC and developers Maddd suggest it should be converted into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, providing access to the Harlem River frontage. Already partly revitalised, the riverfront is planned by authorities to be activated again as a public space and such conversion of the ramp would help.
That said, who should be responsible for the ramp, should that happen? As of now there is no entity willing to take it over, with the Department of Transportation arguing it would no longer have any interest in the bridge if traffic is removed from it. Responsibility for this part of the equasion needs to be settled before anything can move forward. Also, the alteration has to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration, since we're talking of an expressway exit.
Back in February, Maddd lobbyist David Quart has introduced a time frame that might still be retained, despite the COVID-caused chaos. According to this schedule, the off-ramp issue could be settled by the end of 2020.
A published environmental statement and ULURP certification (steps that would take the proposal fully public for the first time) would follow in the first quarter of 2021. The roadmap included completing land use review in the fall of 2021 and beginning construction in early 2022. Can that work?