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METS' PLAN FOR EBBETS FIELD LOOK-ALIKE COMING INTO FOCUS
Published June 14, 1996
While talk of a new West Side Yankee Stadium has dominated attention recently, the Mets are "quietly" completing plans for a $457M, 40,000-seat facility designed to "evoke historic Ebbets Field," according to Charles Bagli of the N.Y. OBSERVER. The proposed ballpark would be built on a city-owned parking lot within 100 feet of Shea Stadium, which would be torn down. It would include a "state-of-the-art" retractable roof, an "ocean" of parking, and be designed to allow passers-by a "visual link" to the field through a low right field wall opening onto a pedestrian concourse along the street. Consultants planning the stadium include architect Jack Gordon, who devised the $35M renovation of Shea Stadium in '88, and K.C.-based firm HOK. A joint city-Mets study on the ballpark's viability will be completed in July (N.Y. OBSERVER, 6/17). RACE FOR CASH: Thus far, in "sharp contrast" to the possible Yankees' move, the Mets' stadium plans have been "embraced" by local political leaders -- who note the park would cost less than half of what the Yankees are asking. Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, on Mets President Fred Wilpon: "We're happy to have him. He is a straightforward, low-key gentleman. He doesn't have the theatrics and personality of [Yankees Owner George] Steinbrenner, which invites all kinds of negative feelings." But Bagli notes that both Wilpon and Steinbrenner are "inextricably linked" to each other in what may be a "zero-sum game" to obtain taxpayer dollars -- because at a combined cost of $1.5B, the city cannot afford two new stadiums. Bagli: "The first one to get any funding may get it all" (N.Y. OBSERVER, 6/17).