Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bait and Switch

Since news first broke about the new Yankee Stadium plan, calling for the appropriation of park land for both the new stadium and attendant parking garages, we have been told that the stadium plan is completely separate from the new mall being constructed right next door. Locals were suspicious that the garages would be used by the mall.

It turns out our suspicions were on target.

According to Matthew Schuerman at The Observer:

"The city’s Industrial Development Agency is hoping, though, that the future operator of the proposed Yankee Stadium garages will be able to make enough money from shoppers and commuters on non-game days to break even.

"This is how the math works:

"If all the new parking slots (9,179 total) are filled every game day (81 times a year), the operator will bring in $18.59 million annually from Yankees-related revenue. But the $225 million in bonds, if paid back over 30 years at 6.5 percent, would require $17.04 million a year in payments.

"That leaves just $1.55 million a year for salaries, maintenance, utilities and other operational costs—not to mention rent that the operator, the Bronx Parking Development Corporation, is supposed to pay the city."

So it seems that the only way these garages can turn a profit will be for them to be used by the mall and by commuters avoiding Congestion Pricing.

And if commuters are using the garages, then the neighborhood does not benefit from decreased traffic as a result of the congestion charge.

In fact, because the garages will have rooftop recreational fields the local community was extremely worried about the affects of automobile exhaust on the health of those exercising there. We were repeatedly told that the garages would only be used on game days and that the rooftop parks would be closed on game days due to "security risks," so there was nothing to worry about. Now we learn that they may be used 365 days a year.

We have been sold a bill of goods.

And those who said that Congestion Pricing would not create an incentive to "park and ride" in our neighborhoods should look very carefully at this.

Click the title above to read Schuerman's post at The Real Estate.


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