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The owners of MLS New York City FC are "still hopeful they can push through a stadium deal" at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, but also are "talking for the first time about abandoning that plan in search of a more politically feasible site in the city," according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Yankees President Randy Levine, who will be the club’s point person in the partnership, yesterday said, "Now that we’re involved, we’re gonna look, see if we can conclude it in Queens and whether there are better places. There will be a team playing. There won’t be any stress about (finding a site)." Levine said that Yankee Stadium is a "possible temporary home for the team while it awaits the new stadium." He added that he planned to talk to Mets Owners the Wilpons about using Citi Field, "who might be amenable to a deal if it makes financial sense." The MLB teams’ schedules are an "obvious impediment, since the MLS season runs from March to November." Levine said, "We’re competitors with the Mets but we’re also partners in baseball" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/22). N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg today reaffirmed the city's belief that the best place for the stadium is "in the eastern end of Flushing Meadow Park." Bloomberg: "It would generate a lot of revenue so that we could fix up the rest of the park and create a new park where the old Flushing airport was. The amenities that it would bring and the number of people it would bring and the visibility it would bring will be great for the city" (YES Network, 5/22). Man City CEO Ferran Soriano: "We are very well aware that the city and MLS have been working on this potential stadium in Queens, and we want to continue these discussions. But this is not about finding a stadium, it's about finding a home, so we want to do the process right" (ESPNFC.com, 5/21).
OPPOSITION TO THE DEAL: In N.Y., Calder & Lewis note Soriano, Levine and MLS Commissioner Don Garber all reiterated that their first choice is "moving forward with a proposed" $300M, 25,000-seat stadium plan for Flushing-Meadows Park. But they added that they "have no problem seeking alternative locations in the city." Calder & Lewis: "In truth, they may have to." The Mets were "long seen as viable owners for this club, until the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme." The Mets "would need to let NYC FC use Citi Field’s parking lots" for the stadium to be built at Flushing Meadows. The Mets "had no comment yesterday" (N.Y. POST, 5/22). In N.Y., Bagli & Belson write Man City execs indicated that the team's owners also are "hoping that a partnership with the Yankees will shield them from criticism that a stadium project in the park represents a sweetheart deal for Arab royalty." By joining with Man City, the Yankees also "hope to turn Yankee Stadium into a marquee destination for high-profile soccer matches." Levine said that YES Network "could broadcast New York City FC's games." Mansour's investment group would spend about $90M to "replace lost parkland and soccer fields, and on other measures" in addition to "paying for the proposed stadium in Queens" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). The GUARDIAN's Graham Parker noted the notion of a proposed Queens stadium having to replace parkland if it is built there is a "topic that's prompted local protests, but so far has not ignited debate within the mayoral race, with candidates mostly waiting to see what definite developments would take place." Yesterday's news may "force the hands of some of those candidates to come out definitively for or against the proposed Flushing Meadows stadium" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 5/21).
The prospective NBA Kings ownership group is buying "not only the team but also Downtown Plaza," where the group and the city "plan to build a new arena," according to a front-page piece by Bizjak, Kasler & Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Local developer Mark Friedman "declined to disclose the purchase price" between the ownership group and JMA Ventures, which currently owns the land. The sale "doesn't include the independently owned Macy's store at the west end of the plaza, or a few other adjacent buildings that are not part of the arena project site." Friedman said that the transfer of ownership from the Maloof family puts both the arena and "much of the surrounding area into a single entity's hands, making it easier to move forward on building the sports and entertainment facility along with associated development on the plaza site." Officials said that most of the existing Downtown Plaza structures will "be torn down." The arena is expected to be "situated in the center of the plaza site, taking up less than two blocks." Meanwhile, the ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive in conjunction with JMA and the city is "pushing forward with plans to build" the $448M arena at the plaza. The arena plan "faces a tight deadline" to open by fall '16. Downtown Sacramento Partnership Exec Dir Michael Ault said that JMA "stepping aside as property owner makes sense." Ault: "Now you've got the ultimate buck-stops-here opportunity with somebody who controls the team, controls the development opportunity, controls the land" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/22).
Eagles President Don Smolenski yesterday said that the team "received NFL backing" to proceed with plans to renovate Lincoln Financial Field. In Philadelphia, Jeff McLane notes while a formal announcement "is forthcoming, the Eagles have spoken freely about some of the modernizations they had planned for their stadium, including bringing the jumbo video screens up to high definition standards." The team has "discussed the possibility of adding seats and filling in the empty spaces in the northeast and southeast corners of the stadium." The venue's current seating capacity is approximately 69,000 (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/22).
BRIDGE TO VALHALLA: In Minneapolis, Richard Meryhew notes three local companies "are in the running to build a parking and skyway development" that will connect to the Vikings' new stadium. Local developers Ryan Cos., Basant Kharbanda and Vedi Associates each submitted bids to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority this week. The RFP "called for 2,000 parking spaces within one block of the stadium that would be connected by skyway or tunnel and another 500 spaces to be located within two blocks with a dedicated walkway on game days" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/22).
YOU'RE BLOCKING MY VIEW: Former S.F. Mayor Art Agnos wrote a special to the S.F. CHRONICLE under the header, "Warriors Arena Not Right For Waterfront." Agnos: "The billionaire owners of the Warriors chose the most beautiful spot on the waterfront to propose pouring tons of concrete into the bay for a publicly subsidized, 12 1/2-story entertainment complex with no public parking; and across the street stuff a 17-story luxury high-rise condominium building, a 10-story, twin-towers hotel and enough retail space that could encompass most of the restaurants at Fisherman's Wharf. Would I love to see the Warriors come to San Francisco? Of course -- but not at any cost!" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/20).