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Bx hopes to score soccer stadium

Bronx Times

Scoring with a soccer stadium for the Bronx is one thing. Seeing it actually happen could be an entirely different ball game.

It’s a lesson Bronx officials are learning as the New York City Football Club vets the Boogie Down for a possible 25,000-30,000-seat stadium.

The Bronx is now under “serious consideration,” as Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. put it. Much of the serious talks stem from the organizers identifying an area squeezed between Yankee Stadium and the Gateway Mall.

Still, even as a small victory abounds, several moving parts have been presented, mainly its location.

“They’re looking into one of the parking garages near Yankee Stadium,” said Diaz , referring to the barely used 153rd Street parking lot just south of Yankee Stadium.

It’s managed by the Bronx Parking Development Company, a nonprofit that recently defaulted on its $237 million bond issued by the Industrial Development Corporation, an arm of the city Economic Development Corporation.

The site is advantageous for NYCFC given its proximity to the Major Deegan Expressway, public transportation and the Yankees, the franchisee’s business partner.

For Diaz, it’s a politically advantegous site since he vowed not to surrender parkland for an arena.

But for NYCFC to acquire that parcel, it would have to broker a financial deal with garage officials to sell the space. A BPDC spokesman did not return calls.

It would also have to demap a section of 153rd Street, where an entrance ramp to the Major Deegan exists. The procedure is time-consuming and costly as a public review would determine whether demapping is in the best interest of urban renewal.

The other piece of the puzzle is GAL Manufacturing Corporation, an elevator parts company with 375 workers that sits on the proposed site.

NYCFC brass approached GAL officials with an offer to build a new factory should the family-owned firm agree to relocate. A GAL spokesman would not comment on the deal, simply stating it’s in “preliminary discussions with the Yankees.”

But even if the Bronx convinces NYCFC to bank on the borough, it would still have to gauge community groups opinions to determine whether a soccer venue is worthwhile.

“My whole question would be what are the environmental impacts and what are the health impacts of this potential development,” said Jose Rodriguez, District Manager for Community Board 4.

A deal of this size would come under heavy scruntiny by the Borough President’s Office. The last major deal within Community Board 4’s borders happened during the new Yankee Stadium saga, which resulted in then Borough President Adolfo Carrion removing board members opposed to the stadium.

“I try not to dwell what happened in the past,” said Rodriguez, seeing the plus side to the Bronx even being considered for the proposal. “Bronx officials are re-writing the narrative of this borough and it’s attracting more business.”

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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