Analysis

Pick a borough: The 4 best hopes for NYCFC's stadium search

NYCFC's hunt for a home of its own has quietly picked up steam. Here are the top four sites in the mix.

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Matt Green/Commons
Matt Green/Commons

A stadium for New York City FC remains but a figment of our imagination, but that may not be the case for very long.

A stadium search which has involved more than 35 sites has revealed four standout candidates that are either being considered or have been considered at some point by the club.

Ideally, the club can have a stadium built as early as the end of the decade, according to club president Jon Patricof. Whether that happens depends on which site the club pursues. A privately-owned plot of land could cost more than the club’s $100 million expansion fee. Then the land may have to be rezoned, potentially exposing the club to a dragged-out political process.

A publicly-owned plot of land could once again raise City Football Group’s fear that its Abu Dhabi owners will be scrutinized for their personal politics, as recently leaked emails showed was the case when they contemplated pursuing a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

4. Belmont Park

Courtesy of New York Cosmos

What the Cosmos had in mind for Belmont Park (Courtesy New York Cosmos)

Belmont Park may be the location of convenient nightmares. New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation submitted a second request for proposals to build on the same land that the New York Cosmos sought to build their stadium on for four years (see rendering above). NYCFC visited the site last month and has until Sept. 28 to decide on submitting a bid.

When news of the club’s visit broke, it was met with backlash from fans for the simple reason that Belmont Park is not in New York City. Further, the site is only served by an LIRR station that’s open part-time, making it difficult for fans to directly reach.

Lastly, the site is adjacent to a neighborhood of single-family homes. Any potential stadium could face stiff resistance from potential neighbors and put pressure on the Town of Hempstead, which would have to consent to any plans to build on the site.

With one of the other bids for the site set to come from the New York Islanders, coupled with the fiasco of the last request for proposals, the state will be expected to quickly reach a decision. If things go right, the club could have a stadium by the end of the decade.

3. Long Island City

Joe Mabel/Commons

Long Island City, Queens (Joe Mabel/Commons)

Of the four sites, Long Island City is probably the least likely, but City has looked in this rapidly-growing neighborhood in the past. The neighborhood, long viewed as an industrial backwater, is now one of the most active construction sites in the country, with 27 new buildings being constructed this year. Many of the incoming residents are young professionals, one of MLS’ most coveted demographic groups.

The opportunity to build a stadium on the western end of Queens tickles the imagination. Multiple subway lines stop in the area, the Long Island Rail Road has a terminus and the stadium could come with views of the New York City skyline. A proposed light rail system would also make the stadium accessible from most points along the East River.

The only problem? After a FreshDirect facility was sold, there are few options for the team at the moment. A senior member with the club said they would have to get “creative” to acquire the needed land.

NEXT: Maybe NYCFC won't have to move too far after all...