Friday, March 31, 2006

Yankee Stadium Project Not a Done Deal?

According to Patrick Arden in today’s Metro, there is still much concern about the proposed new Yankee Stadium, even within the Bronx delegation. According to Helen Foster, one of the area’s councilwomen:

“Many Council members have concerns, many more than the media realizes,” said Foster, who represents the Highbridge neighborhood and opposes the project. “The Bronx delegation isn’t completely on board yet. I don’t see how between now and Wednesday the issues that we have can be resolved.”
Foster also makes an interesting point about how the Yankee plan relates to the Bronx Terminal Market redevelopment. She says that the projects are very much related but the city pursued them separately “for money reasons.” Because of this poor planning, alternate locations for Yankee Stadium (such as south of the current site) were never considered and now are unusable because they will part of the Gateway Mall.

Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick, chair of the land use subcommittee that will first vote on the proposal, had some interesting remarks as well:

“[Yankee President Randy Levine’s] reasons were that the footprint of the current stadium was too small and that the Yankees did not want to bear the expense and inconvenience of playing in Queens,” he said. “But in response to my questions, it became clear that this is really a matter of money. I still have some concerns.”
The major question is whether these concerns translate into credible, widespread opposition. There is still a lot of support within the Bronx Delegation so it will be interesting to see which way the Speaker will lean on this. While he hope that Councilwoman Foster is right, odds still are that the project will be approved and that the legal option will have to be exercised.

A lawsuit, though, may be quite effective in killing the project, at least according to one professor:

“If this gets dragged through the courts, it could be years,” said Baruch College professor Neil Sullivan. “Construction costs will keep going up, and it will become too expensive to build. That’s what killed the Westway.”