Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Soccer League Enlists Barclays Team for Queens Stadium

Major League Soccer has asked SHoP Architects, the firm that designed the newly opened Nets arena in downtown Brooklyn, to prepare initial designs for a 25,000-seat soccer stadium to be built in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. According to officials from MLS, the privately financed $300 million project could be built within one to two years, and create up to 2,300 construction jobs.

That Major League Soccer is working with a New York firm that just successfully delivered an architecturally well-regarded stadium to Atlantic Yards - perhaps the city's most disputed development site - may indicate something about the seriousness of the league's intent to build  on an eight-acre site in Queens, political controversy and byzantine development processes notwithstanding.

According to the MLS presentation given to city officials in July, the stadium will create 2,000 construction-related jobs, and 300 full-time and 900 part-time jobs. It will also need 4,500 parking spots for fans—who would park in the Mets parking lots—and 375 parking spots for players and VIPs.

[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, June 25, 2012]

According to Major League Soccer, those numbers have since changed. Now, the league anticipates creating more construction-related jobs—between 2,100 and 2,300 construction-related jobs, and fewer full-time and part-time jobs, 160 and 750, respectively. In addition, the league now estimates it needs 4,100 parking spots for fans and 300 spots for players and VIPs.

A home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park would put the stadium near other major sports venues, CitiField and the USTA's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The league has scoped out several sites in the city in recent months, including Willets Point in Queens and Pier 40 on the Hudson River Park. The Pier 40 proposal was criticized after the plans became public this spring. Community members were concerned the stadium would overwhelm the popular waterside park and lead to parking and transportation problems.

[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, September 6, 2012]

If indeed, the league ends up building on the site of the park's historic, yet long-disused Fountain of the Planets, which will not happen without a fight, it will have to replace the acreage it occupies by creating new parkland elsewhere.

Six acres of the eight-acre site are currently occupied by a fenced off concrete pool filled with stagnant water, which would be an improvement for the park. As part of the proposal, the league would also refurbish public soccer fields on the site and create a cricket field and volleyball courts.