Tuesday, January 31, 2006

1/31/6, The Daily News: "Yankees' Pitchman"

Yankees' pitchman
Business crowd rooting for his stadium plans


Yankees president Randy Levine pitched the team's new stadium plans to a different set of pinstripes yesterday, but the crowd was clearly on his team.

Pledging that seats would remain affordable and that the project would create jobs for Bronx residents, Levine basked in a lovefest from the borough's business community at the New Bronx Chamber of Commerce lunch as he outlined what he called "the largest private investment in the history of the Bronx."

Levine cited several design features of the new stadium that will make it superior to the House That Ruth Built.

Although the current Yankee Stadium has some 20,000 seats on the lower level and 30,000 upper-deck nosebleed seats, the New Yankee Stadium will reverse that ratio.

And in addition to recreating the historical facade of the old stadium, the new ballpark will boast a replica of the original frieze destroyed with other architectural details when the old stadium was renovated in the 1970s.

"The new stadium will actually look more like the original 1923 stadium than the current one does," Levine said.

He also assured Chamber members that the expanded number of luxury boxes will keep other seats at reasonable prices.

"This stadium is going to be affordable," said Levine, "affordable for everyone."
Levine's biggest applause line came as he touted the estimated 1,000 new permanent jobs the expanded facility will create.

"Hear me," he said, "jobs will go to Bronx residents."

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, who is negotiating a community benefit agreement with the ballclub, said he is pressing for a commitment of "at least 25%" of jobs, contracts and purchasing being set aside for Bronx residents - a figure Levine endorsed.

Levine also lent his support for Carrion's other ambitious plans for the stadium neighborhood, including a new high school focused of sports industry careers and a hotel and convention center.
While stressing that the Yankees organization "isn't in the business of developing hotels," Levine said the site plan would accommodate one.

"There's a parcel of land set aside for it," he said.

Levine also cited several changes in the plan that came out of talks with project opponents, like making the parking lots available year-round, and centralizing replacement parkland on the site of the old stadium.

"They really had some good ideas," Levine said."

Carrion drew laughter when he described the sometimes contentious process of hammering out a redevelopment plan.

"It's like making sausage," he said, shaking his head wearily.

"It's not pretty."


At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, lying is never pretty. Indeed, it is ugly.


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