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Posts from the "NYC Industrial Development Agency" Category

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Anybody Interested in Tearing Down a Couple of Yankee Stadium Garages?

Another attempt to salvage something positive from the Yankee Stadium parking boondoggle is underway. The company that operates the garages, having defaulted on hundreds of millions in triple-tax exempt bonds, has issued a request for proposals for the sublease and redevelopment of two lots.

Even back in 2007 and 2008, when the NYC Economic Development Corporation (via the Industrial Development Agency) closed the deal before an economic feasibility study could be completed, and Albany authorized the seizure of public parkland, the writing was on the wall. Other than the EDC, the Yankees, and the Bronx Parking Development Company, most anyone could see that a new stadium with fewer seats, a new Metro-North station, and acres of existing (EDC-financed) parking nearby wouldn’t need 2,000 more parking spaces than Tropicana Field.

Yet here we are: a 9,000-spot parking complex that’s at 38 percent capacity on game days, and all but empty in the off-season. According to the city’s Independent Budget Office, Bronx Parking missed its April payment to bondholders, and the company has yet to pay the city a cent in rent or payments in lieu of taxes. City and state taxpayers are at the back of the line, since the deal was structured so bondholders are paid first.

Responses to the RFP were due June 5, according to the IBO. A 2011 request for expressions of interest to develop a hotel to complement or replace the garages fell through when all potential developers wanted — you guessed it — subsidies from the city. And Neil deMause reports on Field of Schemes that the sites proffered in the RFP aren’t big enough to accommodate a Major League Soccer facility — though the Queens Chronicle notes that a new soccer arena near Yankee Stadium would satisfy the MLS’s “close to mass transit” requirement.

Even if MLS takes an interest in redeveloping the Yankee Stadium garages, residents of the South Bronx still lost their parkland, and taxpayers may not be off the hook. To build a new stadium in the city, deMause reports, MLS is seeking an estimated $100 million in subsidies.

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For Bloomberg, No Lessons Learned From Yankee Parking Subsidies

If Mayor Bloomberg regrets his administration’s involvement in the Yankee Stadium parking disaster, he’s not letting on.

The Bronx Parking Development Company has finally defaulted on $237 million in triple-tax exempt bonds used to finance parking garages for the new stadium, and bondholders are looking for a way to recoup their losses.

It didn't work. Photo: Daily News

“There just wasn’t the business there that the owners, who made the investment, thought that there was going to be,” Bloomberg told Transportation Nation yesterday. “If the owners of the parking garage can’t make money, that’s sad. We’ve got to find a way to help them.”

See what the mayor did there? In one shot he ducked responsibility for his role in the deal and characterized the developers as hapless victims. The developers who were handed tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds and acres of public park land to build thousands of parking spaces that the stadium’s neighbors didn’t want, and that everyone — other than the developers, the Yankees and the city — recognized were unnecessary.

The Daily News reported on Tuesday that the New York City Economic Development Corporation tried to broker a deal to “bail out” BPDC and redevelop two stadium parking lots with affordable housing and retail, but talks fell through for reasons the EDC would not divulge. The Industrial Development Agency, the financing arm of the EDC, facilitated the stadium garage deal and approved the bonds.

Half of the members of the IDA board were appointed by Bloomberg, either directly or through ex officio memberships, at the time the bonds were approved. The IDA signed off on the bonds before an economic feasibility study could be completed.

Read more…

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Yankee Stadium Parking Garages “Almost Certainly” Coming Down

How long now before the Yankee Stadium parking fiasco becomes an unpleasant memory?

The site of one Yankee Stadium garage, at River Avenue and 153rd Street, was proposed for redevelopment as a hotel and conference center in 2011. Photo: BOEDC

In a brief Crain’s item published last Friday (hat tip to Tri-State), Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, said that occupancy rates at the taxpayer-financed stadium garages are down from last year, and now stand below 50 percent.

The Bronx Parking Development Company is in default, as expected, according to Crain’s, and bondholders are weighing their options.

Seven companies responded to a request for information to build hotels on the garages, which Cintron said would almost certainly have to be torn down.

Though there were rumblings of repurposing or replacing some stadium parking over a year ago, this appears to be the first time a public official has publicly suggested that the garages could be erased completely.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who has his predecessor Adolfo Carrion and the New York City Economic Development Corporation to thank for this mess, broached the idea of siting a hotel near the stadium in his 2010 State of the Borough address. Ironically, Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez wrote last February that initial proposals were dismissed because developers insisted on “major city subsidies.” Diaz also reportedly asked the Bloomberg administration to replace “some of the garages” with low-income housing. This outcome seems unlikely, given that bondholders, unlike the EDC, expect a return on their investment.

Diaz spokesperson John DeSio told Streetsblog last year that whatever becomes of the garages, the next developer should learn from the city’s mistakes — the squandering of millions of dollars on parking that the neighborhood didn’t want, and the Yankees didn’t need; approving the deal before conducting an economic feasibility study, and so on. Regardless, given the sordid history of the stadium garages, residents of the South Bronx, and city and state taxpayers at large, would do well to keep their ears to the ground.

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The House That EDC Built: A 9,000-Car Complex With 8,930 Empty Spaces

In case you’re just tuning in, all that taxpayer-subsidized parking built for the new Yankee Stadium has failed beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.

Yankee Stadium parking in its natural state. Photo: Daily News

In today’s Daily News, Juan Gonzalez reports that Bronx Parking Development Company LLC is expected to default this year on the $200+ million in triple-tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York City Industrial Development Agency, the financing arm of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Since the threat of default has loomed for some time now, let’s look at the more recent developments cited by Gonzalez.

The promise of jobs to be created by the garages was never that grand to begin with — 12 full-time and 70 part-time positions, with an average wage of $11 an hour. But Bronx Parking LLC is so desperate for cash, writes Gonzalez, that “the company plans to slash the salaries of a handful of full-time garage employees and to reduce the number of game-day parking attendants from 76 to 57.”

“The people who continue to pay the price for this thing are the kids who lost their park space, and now the handful of people who got jobs and are going to lose them,” says Bettina Damiani, project director of Good Jobs New York, an NGO that has tracked the stadium project from its inception.

On top of that, a proposal to lure a hotel to complement or replace the garages has apparently cratered after four developers who expressed interest in the deal wanted “major city subsidies.” Gonzalez reports that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who inherited the stadium parking disaster from his predecessor Adolfo Carrion, “has been pressing City Hall to come up with an emergency plan to restructure the bonds, tear down some of the garages, and replace them with low-income housing.”

How bad is it for Bronx Parking LLC? According to Gonzalez its garages are 38 percent full on Yankee game days. When the stadium is idle, they have a total of 70 regular customers for 9,000 spaces.

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Replacement For Yankee Stadium Parking Will Still Have to Pay The Bills

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz is hoping that a new hotel can replace excess parking near Yankee Stadium. Photo: Crain's.

As the operator of the taxpayer-financed Yankee Stadium parking garages heads toward default, there’s no longer any question that providing so much parking in such a transit-rich location was a mistake on the scale of Carl Pavano’s contract. The decision to give up $2.5 million in city taxes and $5 million in state revenue has proven a poor investment indeed. The question, at this point, is what comes next.

One idea, from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., is to convert one of the garages into a hotel. “One of the older garages is perfect for hotel development,” said John DeSio, a spokesperson for Diaz. Diaz advocated for a new Bronx hotel in his State of the Borough address two weeks ago, saying that “a new hotel would create hundreds of good-paying jobs offering health benefits, pension plans, and a chance for its workers to have a better life.”

While the garages were built on what used to be public parks, the South Bronx is unlikely to see that parkland return. “We have to come up with a plan that not only benefits the neighborhood but is palatable for the bondholders,” explained DeSio. The bondholders will have to okay any new use for the garages, so it will have to be a revenue-generator.

In terms of parking policy more broadly, DeSio said that while there aren’t any major developments where parking is an issue currently being considered by the borough president’s office, “I’m sure that we’d have to take to heart what happened here in the future.” (Plans for a new East Bronx mall anchored by a Target are too preliminary to comment on for now, he said.) DeSio also suggested that the private sector will notice this high-profile case of wasting resources on providing an excessive supply of parking.

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NYCEDC’s Yankee Stadium Parking Debacle: Who Woulda Thought?

In news that should surprise no one, the taxpayer-financed Yankee Stadium parking garages have been declared an unmitigated disaster.

Photo: Crain's

Anyone could have seen the deal was a loser from the start — that a sports stadium served by subways, buses and a new commuter rail station, a stadium that would have fewer seats for fans, would have no need to increase parking stock by 55 percent. Then there was the dirty business of seizing public parks, and counting on the fact that the garages would attract drivers year-round — drivers who would be willing to pay more to park at the stadium than at the nearby Gateway Center mega-mall — to an area that neither wanted nor needed more car traffic. It was a scheme so predictably wrong that no private developer wanted any part of it.

Among those privy to the nuts and bolts of the deal, it seemed the only ones oblivious to the fact of its eminent failure were former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and the folks at the New York City Industrial Development Agency, the financing arm of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. In an act of blind faith or incestuous backroom dealing — take your pick — the IDA issued well over $200 million in triple tax-exempt bonds to the non-profit (ha ha) Bronx Parking Development Corporation to build and operate the garages.

Four years later, as Crain’s reports, the garages are a bust — with “more competition than any party involved anticipated,” they “were never more than 60 [percent] full on game days.” Bronx Parking is expected to default on the bonds, and the neighborhood has thousands of unused parking spaces where there was once public parkland.

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Yankee Stadium Parking Boondoggle Getting Worse Every Day

The subsidy for the new Yankee Stadium's 9,000 parking spaces keeps turning into a worse deal for New York City taxpayers. Juan Gonzalez reports in the Daily News that the garage operator is deep in the red, even after last year's extended championship season:

As of this month, Bronx Parking Development LLC owes the city $8.7 million in back rent and interest. That tab will soon grow to more than $10 million because city officials have allowed the firm to defer the rest of this year's rent as well.

Meanwhile, Bronx Parking, which has no connection to the Yankees, has yet to pay a nickel in property taxes.

yankee_stadium_traffic.jpgThe House That Subsidies Built: It's now in the city's financial interest to see more traffic overwhelm the streets around Yankee Stadium. Photo: Simon Akam/Bronx Beat
One thing I'd add to Gonzalez's excellent piece is that this whole outcome was predictable, given the sordid politics behind the Yankee Stadium deal. Back in 2007, the geniuses on the board of the NYC Industrial Development Agency approved the subsidized parking deal before conducting an economic feasibility study. As Gonzalez notes, profitable Yankee Stadium garages now appear to be a delusion of the wishful thinkers at the NYC Economic Development Corporation.

The larger point is that the current situation proves the folly of the initial parking subsidies. Perversely, if the city is ever going to see revenue materialize from these monstrous garages, it's in their interest to see more cars drive to Yankee Stadium and flood the streets of the South Bronx. That pretty much sums up why a city that's purportedly committed to a sustainability plan should never subsidize parking.

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The Bronx Is Burning Over Subsidized Stadium Parking

The people of the South Bronx will organize against the subsidized construction of parking garages for the new Yankee Stadium, one resident said yesterday.

17275060_8968f775f9_o.jpgAt a sparsely attended public hearing in Lower Manhattan, Margaret Collins of Save Our Parks told the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) that a "barely contained rage" is simmering over the traffic the new stadium is expected to bring to the area. Surveys show that lack of recreational space and pollution are the top concerns in South Bronx neighborhoods, Collins said -- problems that were exacerbated when the Yankees seized public park land for its stadium complex, and which could yet worsen once its proposed 9,000 parking spaces are put to use.

Though the new facility will have 5,000 fewer seats, and will be served by a new Metro-North station, current plans call for it to have 2,500 more parking spots than the existing stadium. Three new parking garages (of four originally planned) will be financed through $225 million in triple tax exempt bonds, if the IDA approves such action, at a public cost of some $8,000 per space. A vote could come as early as next Tuesday, September 11. The IDA board votes in closed session.

Noting the low turnout for the hearing, Collins -- herself testifying with sleeping infant in tow -- pointed out that most affected residents can not make it downtown for a meeting in the middle of a workday. She warned that lack of public attendance should not be confused with lack of public engagement. 

"The community is not sleeping on this question," Collins said.

Speaking after an unusual plea for access was presented to the IDA on behalf of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Collins bristled that politicians had signed on to the stadium project without knowing what they were agreeing to. Carrion, a vocal stadium proponent, has been denied what his office termed "vital information" regarding its financing, even though he, like all borough presidents, has an appointee who serves on the IDA board.

The IDA is the financing arm of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The IDA board is made up of 15 members and alternates, including City Planning Director Amanda Burden and Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff.

While she was outnumbered by IDA board members and staff, Collins was not alone in testifying against the project. Joyce Hogi, who has lived in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium for 30 years, objected to the "snarling traffic" that "consumes" the area, and said the new garages would amount to "induced demand" for otherwise unneeded parking, "providing an incentive to drive into an already overburdened neighborhood." Of the new Metro-North station, Hogi asked, "We spend millions on public transportation and now we plan to spend millions to encourage them not to take it?"

Hogi suggested public moneys would be better spent on upgrades to the Melrose Metro-North and 161st Street subway stations, which would benefit surrounding neighborhoods year-round.

Bettina Damiani, director of Good Jobs New York, said that the parking subsidy, if approved, would bring the public commitment to the new stadium to a total of approximately $795 million.

Photo: Michael Dietsch/Flickr

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Bronx Boro Prez Issues Protest at Yankees Parking Hearing

This morning a representative of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., read a statement of protest ahead of an expected Tuesday vote on the city's deal with the Yankees to subsidize the construction of three parking garages.

Testifying before the NYC Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which is poised to issue over $200 million in triple tax exempt bonds to the "Bronx Parking Development Company" for parking deck construction, Deputy Director for Planning & Development Paula Luria Caplan said Carrion has not received "vital information" regarding project financing.

Here is the testimony submitted by Caplan on behalf of Carrion, in its entirety:

The new Yankee Stadium project represents a remarkable achievement for the Borough of the Bronx and the City of New York. As this board is aware, the Borough President has been involved in this redevelopment project from its inception and has always insisted that both the community and its representatives are thoroughly engaged in this process.

The Borough President is deeply concerned that after repeated requests we still have not received vital information regarding the details of the Bronx Parking Development Company financing. Specifically, the Borough President's office has requested the following:

A copy of the draft lease agreement;
A copy of the feasibility study;
An explanation of the increase in the deal size from $190 million to $218 million;
and details regarding the elimination of Lot D from the parking facility after 2010.

Finally, the Borough President is concerned as to whether this project can move forward on September 11th without the statutorily required approval of the Bronx Borough Board. In order to make an informed decision at the September 11th IDA Meeting, the Borough President must receive this information immediately.

Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York, who also offered testimony, said that it is unheard of for a borough president to resort to making such a statement at an IDA hearing, considering that each borough president has an appointee on the IDA board.

Complete coverage still to come.

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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