NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg agrees: The New York Yankees could use a new stadium. So could the Mets. And the Knicks and Rangers could use a new home, too.
But given the city’s precarious financial status, the teams should not expect New York to kick in a lot of cash toward any of the projects, Bloomberg said Friday.
“It’s got to be done with private money,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. “We need a new Yankee Stadium. We need a new Shea Stadium. In fact, we need a new Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, the city doesn’t have a lot of money.”
Bloomberg’s comments came a day after Crain’s New York Business reported that the Yankees wanted to build a new, $750 million stadium across the street from the existing Yankee Stadium.
The team was seeking $450 million in public money to build a a hotel and conference center, improve and increase public transportation to the area, and build three new parks elsewhere in the Bronx, according to the Crain’s report.
Under state law, the team must replace the parkland it uses.
Yankees manager Joe Torre speculated it would be hard to match the charm of the original ballpark, which he said is like “walking into a museum.”
“When you think of old ballparks like Wrigley and Fenway, they’re still standing,” Torre said Friday before the start of the Yankees-Orioles game. “I think they’ve done great things with new ballparks and giving them personality, but this place especially, with all the championships and players who have come through here, you know it would lose some of the mystique that this is where it all happened.”
The report, citing anonymous sources, said the Yankees planned an announcement about the proposed new stadium in the next two weeks — although the team said that was not true.
“There is no date scheduled for any announcement,” team president Randy Levine said Thursday. “When we conclude consulting with the mayor, the governor, the Bronx borough president and other elected and community officials — and when our plans are finalized — we will have something to say.”
The team will likely seek to finance the facility by issuing tax-exempt Industrial Development Authority bonds, with revenue from the new stadium easily paying off the bonds, according to Crain’s.
The Yankees are looking at a design with about 50 skyboxes, Crain’s reported.
A tentative agreement to build new stadiums for the Yankees and the New York Mets was announced just before Mayor Rudolph Giuliani left office at the end of 2001. That nonbinding deal, which called for the city and the teams to split the $1.6 billion cost of the stadiums, was shelved by Bloomberg.
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