"Yanks’ garages in park" Metro NY 4/4/7
Yanks’ garages in park
by patrick arden / metro new york
APR 4, 2007
MANHATTAN. While the Yankees dashed into Macombs Dam Park last August to break ground on a new stadium ahead of a community group’s lawsuit, the team’s plan for four large parking garages has lagged far behind schedule.
An initial request for proposals was pulled in 2005, and when the RFP resurfaced last June its deadline had to be extended. Few believed a private developer could actually make money from a project that would require a $250 million investment and be fully used for just 80 games a year. Now the city has turned to a not-for-profit to complete the deal, minus one garage.
Community Initiatives Development Corp. is a not-for-profit formed in 1992 to help private firms and local governments secure tax-exempt financing. For the Yankees’ garages, CIDC set up a local entity in February to act as the tax-exempt borrower for the city, which could have been liable for the full tab.
“We’re the 501(c)(3) corporation, which is the pass-through to give the parking garages tax-exempt financing,” explained CIDC senior vice president Joseph Seymour, the former executive director of the Port Authority. “Instead of the city taking on the debt, and having that put under consolidated debt, it goes through Community Initiatives Development Corp.”
He said a private garage operator and developer have already been enlisted for the project, though Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the city’s Industrial Development Agency, said details were still being negotiated. An executive for Central Parking, the current operator of the Yankees’ garages, told Metro the company would be retained to run both the new and restored garages.
“We’re only providing the tax-exempt status,” said Seymour. “We get a fee, which hasn’t been negotiated yet. We don’t get the revenue — there’s a trustee that gets the revenue and disburses it to the bondholders and pays off the development.”
Currently the city collects 80 percent of the revenue from the Yankees’ parking facilities. Last year that equaled $4 million, according to Parks Dept. spokesman Warner Johnston.
The three new garages — plus the renovation of existing parking facilities — will cost $281 million, which includes $21 million for replacement parkland on top of one garage. The state is kicking in $70 million. Within three years, the project is expected to create 20 full-time and 70 part-time jobs.
Dan Steinberg of Good Jobs New York, is raising his initial estimate of public subsidies going to the project, which he had pegged above $400 million. He thinks the garage money would be better spent on the planned Metro-North station, considering the garages were vehemently opposed in the neighborhood, which suffers from a high asthma rate.
“Unfortunately the Yankees’ wish list seems to count more than the public interest,” Steinberg said.
Tomorrow morning, the city’s Industrial Development Agency will hold a public hearing on issuing $190 million in triple tax-exempt bonds to the not-for-profit Bronx Community Initiatives Development Company.