Going in Deeper on those Bankrupt South Bronx Garages

The city may be ready to dig in deeper on bad investments in the South Bronx.

In his Wednesday Daily News column, Juan Gonzales says that New York's Economic Development Corp. is pushing through a plan to turn the bankrupt parking garages next to Yankee Stadium into a soccer stadium.

Something needs to be done to get a tax revenue stream from the properties, which the city gave to developers for parking garages.  The parking lots were rejected by Yankees fans, who have opted for Metro-North and subways and even difficult street parking rather than paying  rates which could exceed $50 on game day.  The garages are not used on non-game days. 

And they are now in bankruptcy.

Gonzalez writes that the New York City Football Club, a joint venture joint venture owned by the Yankees and Manchester City Football Club, a British team owned by Sheik Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is searching for a place to play. 

He reports that the city's Economic Development Corp. staff has a draft of an agreement they wanted signed fast, for a whopping $300 million in tax-free bonds, to re-develop the parking garage. 

The memorandum of understanding, the article reports, would allow the new soccer team to use revenues to pay off the bonds.  There would be no property taxes paid for 38 years. Mortgages and sales taxes also would be forgiven.

The rush, the article says, would be to force Mayor-elect de Blasio's hand in deciding whether to back the effort. The agreement would require the city's initial approval in 30 days of de Blasio's Jan. 1 inauguration.

The EDC wants to erase the memory of the garages, which got deep tax concessions to be built but are now in bankruptcy.  The tax-free bond proposal, the article says, is similar to those received by the Yankees and Mets when their respective new stadiums were built under the Bloomberg administration's watch.

More land use and city council approvals for the new stadium to proceed are required, but approval of the deal now could lock in a de Blasio decision as to whether to proceed.

There's more: the article says that though the city owns most of the land the proposed 28,000-seat stadium would be built on, Yankees President Randy Levine is trying to buy and relocate a 350-employee elevator equipment company on an adjacent site that would be needed for the development.

The article reports that EDC staffers are uneasy about the push in the wake of the parking garage debacle.  The soccer club already has been rejected for a new stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
 
Gonzalez strongly questions why deep pocket owners--the Yankees and a sheikh reportedly from a family worth $400 billion--need a second round of deep tax breaks at a failed site.
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