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The Clock Has Started: NYCFC's Stadium Now Under Public Review
Three weeks after updating Queens CB7 on the Willets Point stadium, NYCFC and their development partners released their initial environmental review documents, kicking off the public review process.
The clock has started, the first meeting is scheduled, and the public review process has begun for NYCFC’s Willets Point stadium.
On March 1st, Queens Development Group, New York City Football Club, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation jointly submitted preliminary environmental review documents to the City of New York. The documents, submitted to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development, include an Environmental Assessment Statement and Draft Scope of Work.
The purpose of these documents is to describe the proposed Willets Point development project and the necessary actions required to facilitate the project’s advancement through the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). ULURP is the review process the City of New York follows when evaluating land use actions that include zoning changes and the development of city-owned property by third parties.
“The proposed Phase 2 Development is the development of the Phase 2 Site with approximately 1,190,000 gsf [ground square feet] of residential development (approximately 1,400 units, all of which would be affordable); a 250-room, 145,000-gsf hotel; approximately 60,000 gsf of local retail use; a 500,000-gsf soccer-specific stadium for the New York City Football Club (NYCFC); and 470 accessory parking spaces. The proposed stadium would have a maximum capacity of approximately 25,000 seats. The Phase 2 Development would also include approximately 1.5 acres of publicly-accessible open space, largely comprised of completing a pedestrian plaza at the corner of 126th Street (Seaver Way) and Roosevelt Avenue, as well as linear and plaza spaces throughout the Phase 2 Site.”
Willets Point Phase 2 Development Draft Scope of Work
Although these new documents do not provide any juicy renderings or specific information about amenities there may be at NYCFC’s future stadium, they do confirm the planned seating capacity and completion date previously announced by the development team.
“NYCFC plans to construct the privately financed, 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium by Spring 2027, in time to host soccer matches for the 2027 Major League Soccer season. Taking advantage of its location in the heart of one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the country, the new stadium will make New York City–which currently has no permanent, dedicated home for its soccer team–a national soccer capital, laying the groundwork for the next chapter in NYCFC and MLS’ history. This stadium represents a major opportunity to capitalize on professional soccer as a growing attraction that can bring investment and economic opportunities to New York City, as well as grow love of the sport to more New Yorkers.”
Willets Point Phase 2 Development Draft Scope of Work
As part of the agreement with the New York Mets, parking for events at the soccer-specific stadium will be available in the lots surrounding Citi Field with approximately 4,000 parking spots expected to be provided.
The filing also provides further clarification around current plans to avoid scheduling conflicts with the Mets and events at Citi Field. The document specifies that “any events at the planned soccer-specific stadium that would occur on the same day as a New York Mets event at Citi Field would occur at least 7 hours before or at least 7 hours after the scheduled event start time at Citi Field.” This arrangement would essentially allow the Mets to play at 1 pm and NYCFC to play at 8 pm on the same day.
The next step in the process will be a public scoping meeting scheduled for April 4th, which will allow interested parties to provide feedback and input regarding the project's potential environmental impacts. The proposed Willets Point development project is a large and complex undertaking, and as such, it will require the city's environmental review process to evaluate various environmental impacts.
According to a schedule presented by the development group three weeks ago to the Housing and Land Use Committee for Queens Community Board 7, assuming everything goes according to plan, certification with the City's ULURP would occur in early fall of this year. The Draft Scope of Work was published in accordance with this schedule.
Councilmember Francisco Moya, who represents the area where the proposed development is located, recently encouraged NYCFC supporters to make their voices heard throughout the public review process. Although anyone from the public can register for the upcoming public scoping meeting, it’s important to note that this meeting is only intended to establish the considerations that need to be incorporated into the Environmental Impact Statement the team will need to release. This meeting does not involve any actual voting or approvals from the City of New York. Those actions will occur once the ULURP kicks off.
The schedule for opening the gates to NYCFC’s long-awaited stadium is extensive and there are many moving parts involved. At least for now, the timeline seems on track. ❧
Image: Willets Point Development Phase 2 Draft Scope of Work (March 1, 2023)