SBD/February 26, 2013/Facilities

Renderings For MLS Venue In Queens Leaked; Future Club Owner Would Have Final Say

Stadium dimensions could allow the Queens facility to expand to 35,000 seats
SHoP Architects Founding Partner Gregg Pasquarelli during a recent presentation at the Columbia Univ. Graduate School of Architecture “revealed the first designs" for the $300M, 25,000-seat soccer stadium that "MLS wants to build for an expansion franchise in Flushing-Meadows Park,” according to Rich Calder of the N.Y. POST. Pasquarelli’s presentation was “primarily about his firm’s design of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but it briefly offered four preliminary renderings for the MLS stadium project that SHoP was hired to design in October.” The renderings “show an open-air stadium that’s enclosed in a mesh design.” Pasquarelli said, "It's all about making a new kind of stadium that has no walls -- that’s completely open at all times." Calder notes the stadium dimensions “could allow for the project to expand to 35,000 seats.” The entire presentation was “captured on You Tube and later posted by the sports blog Nets Daily.” The video yesterday was “pulled” from the site. MLS hired SHoP to “handle the initial concept drawings, but the future owner of the planned Queens franchise would be responsible” for hiring an architect, whether SHoP or another firm, “to design the final version” (N.Y. POST, 2/26). In N.Y., Stephen Rex Brown notes MLS “sought to downplay the significance of the leaked drawings.” MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche said, “Those renderings were an architectural design study. It's not what the stadium is going to look like” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/26). CRAIN'S N.Y.'s Annie Karni reports MLS in meetings as recently as last week "appeared to have scrapped the early plans." New Yorkers for Parks Exec Dir Holly Leicht said, "These were always presented as theoretical renderings, not actual renderings." Leicht added that MLS "no longer brings renderings with them to meetings" (CRAINSNEWYORK.com, 2/26).
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