Take Me Out to the Yankees Parking Subsidy Hearing

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As Streetsblog reported back in April, the city is set to subsidize thousands of parking spaces for the new Yankee Stadium by issuing hundreds of millions in tax-exempt bonds for parking deck construction.

The Post reported this week that one of the four planned parking structures has been scuttled, but the rest remain on the table, in spite of a new Metro-North station that should mitigate stadium parking demand. Tomorrow the NYC Industrial Development Agency (IDA) will hold a hearing on the bond issue, which by some calculations would cost city and state taxpayers over $8,000 per parking space.

Here's a summary from Good Jobs New York, which has been keeping a watchful eye on the deal:

The New York Yankees are currently building a new stadium one block north of its existing location at East 161 Street and River Avenue in the Bronx. The project would also include the construction of three nearby parking garages containing almost 4,000 spaces. The proposed stadium and parking facilities are being developed on over 20 acres of frequently used public parkland, and city, state, and federal subsidies for the project exceed $700 million in direct spending and tax breaks.

 

The New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is proposing to offer additional subsidies for the construction of the three new garages and the renovation of existing garages and surface lots in the area. The IDA is proposing to offer the garage developers $219 million in triple tax-exempt bonds (up from an earlier amount of $190 million) to finance the development of the parking facilities. The city estimates this will mean over $2 million in forgone city income taxes (not to mention millions more on the state and federal level). In addition, the city will no longer collect a percentage of the revenues earned at the garages.

Perhaps, instead of a parking subsidy, the city sees the tax break as an investment in what some hope will be a Bronx development boom. Centering on the stadium, some $500 million in retail development is planned for the area. Retailers have also pledged to reserve 1,200 game day parking spots for Yankee fans.

 
Meanwhile, the ball club has stalled on a promise to repay nearby residents for seizing public park land for its new field and parking complex, in the form of an $800,000 annual endowment to area non-profits. Metro reports that the organization that is supposed to distribute the funds has not yet registered with the state, and its first annual report, due in April, never materialized.

"The parks were taken in eight days without one public hearing," complained [Geoffrey] Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates. "The Yankees wasted no time in seizing the public's land, but they're in no hurry when it's time to pay up."

Croft charged the promised payoff was actually a "pittance," considering the neighborhood, which is plagued by asthma, lost "70 percent of their trees."

More coverage of the parking deal can be found here.

Tomorrow's IDA hearing, which is open to the public, will be at 10:00 a.m. at 110 William Street, 4th Floor.

 
Photo: hotdogger13/Flickr