The reigning Major League Soccer champions may soon have a permanent stadium to call home in Queens.
Mayor Eric Adams is expected to throw his support behind a 25,000-seat soccer stadium near Citi Field, the New York Post reported. Sources told the outlet the stadium would be privately funded, built on land leased by two real estate titans, Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities and Stephen Ross’ Related Companies.
The stadium would be part of the 61-acre Special Willets Point District, where there are also commitments for affordable housing and a public school. The new addition would be the home grounds for New York City FC, which secured the MLS title a year ago, despite its vagabond existence playing home games across the region.
Negotiations for the stadium are ongoing, but a deal is reportedly close at hand. In addition to the mayor’s support, the project would still need to go through ULURP — never a sure bet in the city.
The ideal situation is having the stadium built by 2025, a source told the outlet. That could create an opportunity to host a World Cup game in 2026, as New York City and New Jersey were last month named one of many hosts for the global event.
A spokesperson for the mayor emphasized that no deal was in place yet. An NYCFC spokesperson said the club is “grateful” the mayor understands its need for a permanent place.
The Queens home would be a pivot for NYCFC, which seemed destined for the Bronx a year ago. In 2018, the New York Yankees and Maddd Equities proposed a $1 billion project to develop a stadium, retail, affordable housing and a hotel on parking facilities adjacent to Yankee Stadium.
The deal fell apart in the eleventh hour, however, leaving the Yankees and the city at odds and NYCFC without a permanent home.
The area around Citi Field, already electrified by a thrilling Subway Series between the Yankees and crosstown rival New York Mets, looks poised to become a major commercial development hub. The Hard Rock has been in discussions to partner with Mets owner Steve Cohen for a casino in Willets Point. Lobbying efforts are already underway for the venue.
— Holden Walter-Warner