Yes, the Yankees’ season is over. But on the bright side, this morning the city handed the team a nice consolation prize: $225 million in tax exempt bonds for parking deck construction at the new Yankee Stadium.
Under the agreement, the city will give up some $2.5 million in taxes, with an estimated $5 million forfeited by the state. And the asthma-plagued South Bronx will get almost 4,000 new parking spaces, in garages the city aims to draw traffic to year-round.
Today’s approval of the Yanks’ parking subsidy by the board of the NYC Industrial Development Agency can only be described as a fait accompli. Despite last month’s surprising postponement, caused in part by the IDA’s failure to provide requested information to Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion (himself a parking subsidy supporter) — not to mention the revelation of one sad, shocking detail after another in the local media — the unanimous vote came with relatively little discussion, one item on an agenda of about a dozen. The entire meeting took less than an hour.
Still, there were a few noteworthy aspects surrounding the decision:
- it was announced that an economic feasibility study is now underway (as opposed to, well, conducting same before the package was approved);
- the IDA signed off on the project though a finalized ground lease apparently does not yet exist;
- the deal includes possibly as many as 600 free parking spaces for the Yankees (Streetsblog has a call in to the IDA to confirm the number);
- Carrion’s representative on the IDA board, Rafael Salaberrios, was not present for the vote, but walked in shortly after it occurred.
Bettina Damiani, Project Director of Good Jobs New York, an NGO that has tracked the stadium project closely, says the IDA’s promise of 12 full-time and 70 part-time parking garage jobs, with an average wage of $11 an hour, hardly justifies the impact on surrounding South Bronx neighborhoods.
"There would be a stronger economic benefit if they threw cash off the elevated subway," Damiani says.
Fittingly, Damiani is headed to Washington, DC, tomorrow to testify at a Congressional hearing on how professional sports stadiums shift funds away from public infrastructure.