Nomads no more: NYCFC and NYC reach deal on soccer stadium in Queens

New York City Football Club (NYCFC) is finally getting a new stadium all their own after nearly a decade of sharing the pitch at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
Photo courtesy S9 Architecture

After more than seven years, NYCFC is finally on its way to getting a permanent home.

New York City officials and New York City Football Club have reached an agreement to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium in the Willets Point section of Queens right next door to Citi Field, the New York Times reported. The stadium will be the centerpiece of a planned mixed-used development for the site near the New York Mets home that was once filled with auto body shops.

The new soccer-specific stadium is expected to be completed by 2027 and the development would also include a 250-room hotel and 2,500 units of housing. New York City officials told the Times that limited public money would be used for the project and that NYCFC would be paying the entire cost of the stadium, which is estimated to cost $780 million.

The land will be leased to the soccer team and the development team, which includes Hudson Yards developer Related Companies and Sterling Equities. The latter, which has connections to the former Mets owners, the Wilpons, was also involved in the development of UBS Arena on Long Island.

The lease on the site will keep NYCFC there for 49 years and there will be an option for a 25-year extension.

“Queens has always been an unrivaled live-work-play destination. With this historic announcement, however, there is simply no denying that Queens is truly the future of New York City. From netting titanic investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, transportation, union jobs and community retail to cementing The World’s Borough as the soccer capital of the country, the seismic impacts of Willets Point’s transformation will send shockwaves across Queens’ economy and the entire region for decades to come,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr said in a statement. “The work of ensuring surrounding neighborhoods like Corona and Flushing — locations that have long felt the sting of disinvestment — benefit the most in terms of local hiring and community benefits is just beginning, and I will stop at nothing to accomplish that mission. But I know for a fact that Queens won’t miss this opportunity to score like never before.”

The announcement is the beginning of the end of the nomadic existence that NYCFC has had since they joined Major League Soccer in 2015. The 2021 MLS champions have spent their entire existence trying to find a home while playing a majority of their home schedules in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium.

After the team was announced in 2012, city officials tried to build a stadium for them in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Public backlash squashed the idea. Plans to try and build a soccer-specific in the Bronx also fell through and there had even been a point when the soccer club bid on the land at Belmont Park to try and build a stadium.

NYCFC is the only team that plays in the city limits to win a championship since the New York Giants won the Super Bowl in 2012.

-Zach Gewelb contributed to this report

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