"Taxpayers will fund Yankees' VIP parking, NYC gets less money" Daily News 1/2/8
Taxpayers will fund Yankees' VIP parking, NYC gets less money
Wednesday, January 2nd 2008, 4:00 AM
The Yankees and hundreds of their VIPs will get free valet parking for the next 40 years, courtesy of New York taxpayers.
The startling revelation of yet another subsidy for the richest team in baseball is buried deep in the fine print of a $237 million tax-exempt bond offering that city officials quietly issued the week before Christmas.
The documents say a $70 million state subsidy for parking improvements for the new Yankee Stadium (slated to open next year) has been earmarked for a new 660-car valet parking garage where virtually all the spaces will be reserved for the free, year-round use of the Yankees and their VIPs.
That's not the only shocking disclosure found in the 500-page bond document.
The total cost of the parking expansion project has zoomed to $340 million - $80 million more than city officials announced only eight months ago, when the directors of the city Industrial Development Agency gave preliminary approval to the bond issue. The money is meant to pay for three new garages, refurbishing half a dozen open-air lots and replacing lost parkland due to construction.
Game-day parking prices for the general public will more than double from $14 last year to $29 in 2010. They could hit $35 by 2014.
In addition to 600 free valet parking spaces for the Yankees, 120 game-day parking spaces will be reserved for the free use of the private cars of city cops assigned to the stadium, and an additional 130 on nongame days for city vehicles on "official business."
When Mayor Bloomberg and former Gov. George Pataki announced their deal for the Yankees to build a new stadium in the Bronx back in 2005, the mayor guaranteed the city would receive at least $3.2 million in annual rent, plus payments in lieu of taxes from the parking facilities.
That revenue was to be the only direct income the city would receive from the entire new stadium project.
The money was meant to help repay the direct public subsidy to the garages - $32 million from the city, plus the state's $70 million. The city's expenditure is earmarked for new parks that will sit on top of two of the garages.
Even then, the promised revenue was substantially less than the $3.9 million the city is receiving as its share of current Yankees garage revenue.
Now that the bonds have been issued, we learn that the new garages will not generate enough money to provide full rent and taxes to the city until at least 2014.
That's according to the financial projections in a consultant study. The city included those projections in the bond documents but had not previously released them, despite several requests for a copy from the economic watchdog group Good Jobs New York.
"There may be periods during which excess cash flow could be insufficient to pay the city the full amount owed," Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman Janel Patterson acknowledged. "The amounts owed will not be forgiven, but will accrue interest at a compound annual rate ... until paid in full."
The balance sheet for the garages can't possibly be helped by the loss of more than 700 game-day spaces to the Yankees and the NYPD.
The bond offering says, "Parking Garage Site B will be funded exclusively from the State" [and] will have 600 spaces "reserved for use by the New York Yankees, its employees, guests, customers and other invitees and will not generate revenues."
That is double the number of free parking spaces Bloomberg announced for the team back in 2005. In addition, the garage operator must offer the team up to 900 additional parking spaces annually at an unspecified discount rate.
"The Yankees have no involvement with the garages," team spokeswoman Alice McGillion said yesterday.
Sure. And Manhattan has no involvement with the Brooklyn Bridge.
Any way you slice it, the Yankees and their luxury box VIPs will enjoy free, year-round valet service at what will essentially be the team's publicly financed private garage.
At an average $40-per-game valet parking rate, team executives can expect to save some $80 million from that sweet deal over the nearly 40-year life of the bonds.
Since Garage B is slated to be the only parking facility physically attached to the stadium, Yankees players will enjoy an added bonus.
They will no longer have to face adoring young fans waiting in the parking lot after the game in hopes of landing an autograph from their favorite hero.
Nothing but the best for the Bronx Bombers - and you pick up the tab.