SBD/August 15, 2012/Facilities

Questions Remain As To Whether Queens (N.Y.) Can Support MLS Squad, $300M Venue

MLS execs and N.Y. officials are pushing for a facility in Queens' Corona Park
Queens, N.Y., has a “big appetite for world-class soccer -- and ticket demand for Wednesday's Chile-Ecuador friendly at Citi Field is proof,” but the N.Y. DAILY NEWS’ Bondy & O’Keeffe ask, "Can the borough support a Major League Soccer franchise and a $300-million stadium?” MLS execs and elected officials who are pushing for construction of the facility in Flushing Meadows Corona Park acknowledged that it “might be years before a MLS team plays its first home game in north-central Queens.” The comments come “despite reports suggesting construction could begin early next year.” There also is “potential for conflict with local residents.” MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche said, "These stadiums and the process take time." He added, "The research that's been conducted indicates [there] clearly is an opportunity for two professional soccer teams in this area." Queens Chamber of Commerce Exec Dir Jack Friedman said, "With this and Citi Field and the U.S. Open Tennis Center, we really feel like we developed a destination area, like a sports Mecca." But Bondy & O’Keeffe write parking “might also be an issue.” Supporters of the facility said that fans “could park at Citi Field and lots used for the US Open; MLS has discussed a scenario in which it won't host games conflicting with either Mets games or the US Open, alleviating the parking strain.” Before targeting Flushing, MLS “investigated 20 sites spanning all five boroughs” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15).
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