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: ##http://www.boedchotelrfi.com/##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.

  • Anonymous

    Weren’t these bonds tax-exempt, and thus subsidized by the taxpayers?  If so, shouldn’t the taxpayers have some influence on what happens to the land?

  • vnm

    I wouldn’t discount the idea of affordable housing just yet. If I were a bondholder, and I had the choice of getting a modest, predictable return through affordable housing, or no return through empty garages, I’d go for the housing. And that’s one thing the Bronx needs right now. 

  • Larry Littlefield

    The question is, will the Yankees be able to squeeze money out of the city for renegging on a guaranteed amount of parking? I hope not.  If anything, the people of the city should be suing the Yankees.

    But knowing the typical one-sidedness of deals like this, this is one situation that Mayor Bloomberg may not want to see resolved until his is gone.

    Always remember that the Bronx pols insisted that the Yankees be retained there at any cost.  Bear that in mind as the situation moves forward.  I was prepared to kick in for the bus to New Jersey.

  • Guest

    Bloomberg may opt to jump in front of the bullet on this depending on who his apparent successor is. Him and Larry Gossett Jr. are probably preparing for “one last big job” anyhow.

  • JonfromtheBX

    If you’re going to put up a hotel near the stadium then they better have add more bars and restaurants. They should have built a theater on the site of the old stadium in the first place, ala the Staple Center and Nokia theater in Los Angeles, plus a hotel on the site of the parking lot and now you have something going. Building a park on the site of the old stadium was so ridiculous, there is already a park next to the new stadium! 

    Why would they even consider building affordable housing there? A world class stadium should be surrounded by other amenities to keep business going, Crime is high in the area  as is because of all the affordable housing. 

  • Yankee Town

    What’s important is what’s on the first two floors. Lots of retail, pubs and restaurants are easily compatible with affordable housing and market-rate housing on the floors above.

    The area should mix uses, and given its location between midtown and the MetroNorth suburbs, there is nothing to preclude offices as well. Lots of CEO-types are big baseball fans. If the area was cool, they might put an office there. And for anyone who doubts this happening, look at the number of corporations in Palm Beach County, where the CEOs were attracted by golf courses and winter homes.

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