"Yanks battle lawsuit; city starts pouring concrete" Field of Schemes, 8/11/6
Yanks battle lawsuit; city starts pouring concrete
Bronx opponents of the New York Yankees stadium plan had their day in court before state judge Herman Kahn yesterday, demanding that demolition of Macombs Dam Park be stayed until a lawsuit against the project is resolved. The Yankees' lawyer, Jonathan Schiller, fired back that an injunction would be unacceptable, as it would "bust the budget" for the stadium and "imperil the structure of the project," arguing that a year's delay would cost the team $33 million in added rent, and $80 million in additional construction costs.
As Patrick Arden of NY Metro reports, though, the latter figure assumes a 12%-per-year hike in construction costs, and a leading industry expert says a more reasonable figure would be 7%, if that. And as for the $33 million in extra rent:
The city's own figures show the team has never come close to paying that much in rent. Last year the Yankees were supposed to hand over $14.5 million. But after the team took deductions, the city received just $1.8 million in rent.
Schiller also reiterated last week's threats to move the team if construction were delayed by even one day, though he refused to tell Judge Kahn where the Bronx Bombers might go. Kahn took the bait, asking how many jobs and how much economic activity the city would lose if the team were to leave - though he didn't appear to notice that those extra rent payments Schiller was griping about for an additional season at Yankee Stadium would be an added benefit to city coffers.
Up in the Bronx, meanwhile, the city and the team have begun preparations for the demolition of Macombs Dam Park and the southern portion of Mullaly Park. Though the official groundbreaking is not until 9:30 am next Wednesday, August 16th (to be broadcast live on the Yanks' cable YES Network), neighborhood locals report that today cement trucks began paving over the handball courts at the corner of 164th St. and River Avenue for use as temporary parking, while the tennis clubhouse at the opposite corner of the block (see map) is expected to be demolished starting on Monday, and the southern half of the tennis courts will be closed effective immediately - this being slated as the site for those $235 million parking garages that state taxpayers are helping to foot the bill for.
As for the Wednesday groundbreaking, reports are that it will begin at the southwest corner of Macombs Dam Park at Jerome Avenue and 161st St., where chainsaws will go to work on the trees behind the baseball diamond there. That should make some darn fine TV.