Friday, August 31, 2007

"New Yank Ball'Park' Plan, Daily News 8/31/7


August 31, 2007 -- Parking your car at the new Yankee Stadium is going to be a little harder than the team wanted, but no less expensive.

The Empire State Development Corp. announced yesterday that an entire parking garage - with 1,145 spaces - would be cut from the new stadium, but the project's price tag would stay the same.

Rising construction costs are to blame for scaling back the plan, the ESDC said. The state agency pledged $75 million in public funds to build four new parking lots for the stadium, but now only three can be built.

"It was not feasible to develop all four garages," the ESDC said in a statement. The cost of the parking lots is nearly $240 million, the bulk of which will be paid with city-issued bonds.

Until yesterday, the Yankees planned on 10,300 parking spaces. A team spokesman declined comment.

ESDC chairman Patrick Foye said losing the parking lot will not disrupt travel because a new Metro-North train station will be near the stadium.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Yank the parking garages" Norwood News Aug 23-Sept 5, 2007

Yank the Parking Garages

The new Yankee Stadium has 5,000 fewer seats than the old one.

Nevertheless, city officials endorse the team’s plan to build four new parking garages, most of them in place of public parks, essentially inviting fans from the suburbs to bring their cars into the area to clog local streets and deposit their exhaust in a community that has among the highest asthma rates in the country. The garages are even more absurd when you consider that a brand new Metro North station is being built right next to the stadium that is expected to transport 10,000 fans to the game.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials, giddy about green roofs and expanding ferry service as laid out in the much-hailed PlaNYC 2030, are handing over millions in taxpayer monies to the private corporations building the garages.
Why would the same officials who are in favor of charging people so they don’t drive to Manhattan, encourage people to drive to the Bronx by providing huge public subsidies to build parking lots?

This and more is laid out in “Insider Baseball,” a new report published by watchdog Good Jobs NY (on-line at

The community lost the battle to defeat the stadium. Construction is well under way. But there is still time for residents to bring officials to their senses and eliminate several of the parking garages, which are receiving an insane public subsidy of $96 million.

The parking lots are not inevitable. The city can still knock them out of the park.

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Your Gift to the Yankees Keeps Going, Going, Going…" DMI Blog 8/20/7

Here's a taste (click the title above to read it at DMI with hyperlinks):

"The new project is one of the dirtiest economic development deals in recent memory. Because the Yankees hired masterminds of land use policy, public subsidies and IRS regulations, along with a few former elected officials including one Presidential candidate from New York, the project steamrolled through the public review process leaving community members with little time to organize against it. In the blink of an eye (well it took nine days, but by Albany standards, that’s pretty quick), 22 acres of heavily used park land across the street from the current stadium were covertly seized and handed to the Yankees. No public notice. No public hearing. No Nothing.

"But there is one chance to salvage some public space and money in this project. That’s for the city to pull the plug on the construction of three new parking garages and return that to open space for the community. This part of the deal isn’t done and the city’s Industrial Development Agency still must get public comments on its proposal to allocate $219 million in tax-free bonds to a non-profit for the construction and renovation of over 9,000 parking spaces. This includes 2,500 new spaces even though the new stadium will have about 5,000 fewer seats than the current one.

"There will be a public hearing on the proposal on September 6th at 10:00 am at 110 William St."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Tax breaks on parking Yank group" NY Daily News 8/14/7

Tax breaks on parking Yank group
2,500 more parking spaces planned

Tuesday, August 14th 2007, 4:00 AM

The new Yankee Stadium will have about 5,000 fewer seats than the House that Ruth Built. So why does it need 2,500 more parking spaces than the old stadium?

And why are New York State and city taxpayers paying more than $8,000 for each one?

Those are just a few of the questions raised by a new report on the heavily subsidized stadium project recently issued by Good Jobs New York, a joint project of the Fiscal Policy Institute and Good Jobs First to promote accountability in economic development subsidies.

The report, Insider Baseball (on, describes the behind-the-scenes machinations by current and former Bronx and other public officials to secure more than $663 million in federal, state and local taxpayer subsidies for the richest franchise in sports.

"It's not fair of the elected officials to ask taxpayers to 'take one for the team,'" said Bettina Damiani, Good Jobs New York's director. "It doesn't make sense economically or socially."

The new parking garages alone are getting subsidies of more than $96 million, with $76 million of that coming out of New York City and Albany.

The state has committed $70 million to the construction costs outright, with the rest of the subsidy coming in the form of foregone tax revenue on $190 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the city's Industrial Development Agency to finance the garages.

Once the new garages are built and nearby lots refurbished, the new stadium will have more than 9,000 parking spaces. With state and local subsidies topping $76 million, that will come at a cost to taxpayers of more than $8,000 each.

The cost may rise if the company building and operating the garages, Bronx Community Initiatives Development Corp., defaults on the bonds and leaves the city holding the bag for $190 million.

In 2002, the corporation's parent company, Community Initiatives Development Corp., defaulted on $7 million in bonds issued on its behalf by the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency.

Community Initiatives Development Corp.'s Hudson, N.Y., headquarters did not return calls for comment.

But beyond whether the additional parking spaces are worth the taxpayer cost, the report questions whether they're needed at all.

The builders of the new Gateway Mall just south of the new stadium already have committed 1,200 parking spaces to be available for game-day parking.

And the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is building a new Metro-North stop to serve the new stadium and expects as many as 10,000 Yankee fans to take the train to games rather than drive.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"Pols get best seats in house" NY Post 8/8/7


August 8, 2007 -- The Mets and the Yankees will make sure city officials have a special place to root for the home teams in the new ballparks expected to open in 2009.

The Mets' Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium will both set aside a luxury box for their use, a Parks Department spokesman said yesterday.

The city has long had a luxury box in Shea Stadium. City officials don't have one at the current Yankee Stadium, where a lack of luxury boxes was a big reason the team wanted a new stadium.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"The Yankees face life after George" 8/3/7

Here's an excerpt. Click the title above to read the entire article.

What will New York taxpayers get in return for all their Yankee largesse? Very little - unless you're a local pol with a hankering for hardball. The Yankees will pay a mere $10 a year in rent in the new ballpark, down from about $10 million in the old one. No, we didn't leave off some zeros; it's typical of the sweetheart deals cities make to keep teams in town. And this one comes with a cherry-on-top kicker: According to the prospectus, city officials get their own luxury box "for all regular-season team home games."

Of course, the Yankees are responsible for $51 million a year in debt service. Yet even that expense comes with a silver lining: It will help reduce the Yankees' revenue-sharing obligations. Baseball's 2002 collective-bargaining agreement permits teams to deduct stadium debt service and construction costs when calculating revenue sharing. Bottom line? Baseball's 29 other teams will effectively bear a third of the cost of the Yankees' new ballpark. "It's a classic tax shelter," one baseball insider says. "Not only do you get the benefit of added revenues, but you get a major revenue-sharing deduction as well."