Bronx Borough President hesitates on NYC FC Stadium endorsement

IMAGE, BRONXCHATTER.COM

Few politicians were as bullish as Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. when it came to enticing MLS with a home for a soccer specific stadium.

That once fanatical support has now turned lukewarm.

In a revealing interview with Crains NY, Diaz addresses his stance on building a stadium in his borough — and it hardly reads like a ringing endorsement.

“On the soccer stadium as a whole, I’ll say this: I’m not there yet,” he says. “That said, I am open-minded.”

This is coming from a man who nearly one year ago to the date wrote the Commissioner of MLS, Don Garber, “urging” him to “consider the Bronx, not Queens, as the home of its newest franchise, the New York City Football Club.”

Diaz (D) has certainly changed his tune, perhaps as a reflection of the current change in the New York City political environment. Mayor Bill De Blasio brings with him a hard left stance to City Hall; a departure from the right leaning, business friendly environment of the Bloomberg administration. That has made any sort of political support invaluable.

With NYC FC committed first to a home in the Bronx, Diaz may be looking at the situation from a leveraging standpoint.

“As I said in my State of the Borough address, with a good community-benefits agreement, with proper community engagement, I think we can get to a place where folks understand the economic benefits of the stadium,” he said. “But those benefits have to be real and be felt. It can’t just benefit the royal family of Abu Dhabi [who co-owns the franchise] or the Yankees.”

Thus far, the only gauge of community opinion came in the form of a Town Hall held earlier this year, with strong proponents and vocal opposition expressing their views on the situation.

For now, NYC FC continue to count on Yankee Stadium as their temporary home, and have continued their hunt for infrastructure, securing a training facility in Purchase for the next five years.

Team officials, including Yankee President Randy Levine, insist they will take their time to negotiate with the new administration. With his recent public stance, Diaz will likely be included on their agenda as well.


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  • Steve

    Queens

    • Bronx Boy

      agreed

  • Bronx Boy

    NY politicians give me the sh#ts.

    One of the world’s richest families Diaz, you nong, do you really want to give them the impression they can’t do business in Da Bronx!


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