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.

  • vnm

    Two comments.

    1) This is a fitting comeuppance for the City, which allowed the Gateway Center Mall to build 2,588 parking spaces down the street through a flawed EIS process that concluded that baseball fans wouldn’t park at the mall. In fact, even though relatively few actual shoppers use the mall’s garages, baseball fans flock to it. Last I checked they were charging $20 per game to park, $3 less than the figure Gonzalez quotes at the official garages.

    2) EDC continues to delude itself into thinking this will ultimately be a good deal.

    “Last year, occupancy [for the garages] was lower than the analysis predicted,” said David Lombino, a spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Administration [sic]. “As the economy improves, we can expect that occupancy would improve.” . . .

    “If occupancy returns to typical historical levels … the lots will generate enough revenue to cover bond expenses, and to begin paying rent and PILOT [payment-in-lieu-of taxes],” Lombino said. “That could be as soon as this year.”

    Did they take into account the smaller size of the new stadium? I’m not sure how closely correlated the attendance at the stadium is with the health of the global economy. More relevant is the fact that the new stadium is smaller than the old one by some 4,600 seats, and Yankees game tickets are significantly more expensive than they were at the old stadium. Practically every game was a sellout during the last couple of seasons at the old stadium, but the Yanks haven’t sold out a game in the new smaller stadium yet, even in the postseason, because tickets are so expensive.

    If the City could somehow persuade the Yankees to reduce ticket prices (which would be good for the average non-rich fan), they’d increase their parking revenues, which would be good for the taxpayer.

  • I live on a MetroNorth line, and my friends who go to Yankee Stadium are taking the train to the new station. They love the new station because they are not stuck in traffic getting out of the stadium.

  • Ian Turner

    vnm, the city is us. The comeuppance is ours. Nobody should be happy that we are losing millions more dollars on an already-bad deal.

  • vnm

    Ian Turner, yes, you are absolutely correct.

    Westchesterite, that’s great. Glad to hear it. Just out of curiosity, which line do they use?

  • Anon

    It’s hard to believe how stupid this situation is, and what a loss of taxpayer funds. And all because of a mix of unquestioned (by the powers that be) car-centric planning beliefs, and almost-corrupt favoritism towards developers and “private” businesses that exist with huge public subsidies.

  • You think that’s bad, Anon, just wait until they rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge!

  • vnm: Hudson Line. Lots of Yankee fans all along the river towns. Some of us Mets fans are waiting for a ferry to run from the Yonkers pier to Citifield. Probably not in my lifetime though.

  • Westchesterite, how convenient is it to take the Hudson Line to the 7?

  • Definitely predictable

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