NYCFC’s Willets Point Stadium to Open Spring 2027
Three months after NYCFC’s announcement, club and city officials made public the timeline and other details for the Willet’s Point stadium project to Queens Community Board 7.
Folks, it’s time to mark your calendars.
“The goal is to open for the first game of the NYCFC stadium in spring of 2027”, declared Ethan Goodman, a spokesperson for the Queens Development Group, during Queens Community Board 7’s Land Use Meeting Wednesday evening. Goodman then presented a comprehensive timeline of the development team’s plans to achieve this goal, including the publication of a draft environmental impact statement in the beginning of March.
As New York City Football Club prepares to open up its 2023 Major League Soccer campaign, the highly anticipated stadium project is poised to embark on its journey through the city’s tenuous public review process. During Wednesday evening’s meeting, Goodman told community board members that he expects to be formally engaged in the public review process in approximately three weeks.
Mayor Eric Adams announced in November 2022 that Queens Development Group, a joint venture between Related and Sterling Equities, would lead the development of Willets Point to include an $800 million privately financed soccer stadium for 2021 MLS Cup Champions NYCFC. Following site remediation, the city’s public review process, and construction, the long-awaited stadium would open its gates in 2027. However, since the announcement, fans have been eagerly waiting for more information, and it appears that those details will be made public next month.
Fans can also expect an update on the design for “Stadium Name” Stadium, sometime during the summer. Daniel White of Geto & de Milly, the public relations firm representing NYCFC, noted, “We're still designing the stadium and we think we'll have some designs to discuss and share by the middle of this year”.
Goodman presented a timeline showing that the public environmental review process would kick off this March, while the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) would get started in September 2023. When these processes begin, specific construction details, urban planning features, environmental considerations, economic impacts, and more will be provided to the general public for consumption, assessment, and debate. Alongside the city planning community “kicking of the tires”, this next step will finally give NYCFC fans and community members a non-conceptual sense of what the club’s home will finally look like and how it will integrate into the Willets Point neighborhood.
ULURP is the review process the City of New York follows when evaluating land use actions that include zoning changes and disposition of city-owned property. Depending on the proposed development, it can require the city’s environmental review process, including additional steps to consider various environmental impacts. The Willets Point development, given its size and complexity, requires the environmental review process. Goodman laid out how this overall public review timetable fits into the overall schedule targeting the 2027 opening.
Updates regarding the ongoing remediation stage were provided by Langan Engineering, noting that Phase 1 is substantially completed while Phase 2 remediation (including the proposed stadium) is expected to take about one year to complete.
The Wednesday night presentation covered these updated schedules along with additional details on the proposed development and a background of NYCFC’s achievements both on and off the field. Goodman walked the audience through specifics about the stadium’s primary entrance in the southwest corner along with planned heights for the stadium and surrounding affordable housing and hotel developments. It was noted that the stadium is expected to be at a height of 110-120 feet.
White and Goodman both stressed the development team’s priority is to seamlessly integrate the stadium into the community and avoid another Yankee Stadium-type situation where the property is a waste outside of game days.
Following the presentation, City Councilmember Francisco Moya joined Goodman and White to field questions and feedback from community board members who probed about certain details and reports about the development.
One member asked if the plan was for the soccer stadium to utilize Citi Field parking. White confirmed that inclination along with the plan for stadium events to not occur at the same time.
Multiple community board members mentioned the potential for the stadium development to receive subsidies, with one noting the recent New York Times article. Councilmember Moya provided a response noting the 100% private financing for the stadium, pointing to other sports stadiums in the city not paying rent, and providing additional context around the origins of that article:
“The IBO [Independent Budget Office] never even contacted our office. This was directed from a reporter that asked them to do this specifically. They did not do a full study of what it actually would cost. They were asked to produce one single number from this reporter in the Times; that number being what taxes would they pay if the city sold the land…The phase of construction that's going to bring in 16,000 jobs to the area is about $54m in revenue during construction to the city.”
As this process inches towards the public review process, NYCFC supporters can expect to hear additional feedback from local community members on how the proposed development can address their needs and wants. The first phase of ULURP involves holding a public meeting with the community board and a whopping 60 days of comments and review.
With a well-defined plan and timeline in place, the resolution to NYCFC’s stadium situation seems to be finally within reach, starting to bring to an end the Pigeon’s long-standing nightmare.❧
Image: Willets Point Development, City Councilmember Francisco Moya’s Office (February 15, 2022)