Major League Soccer Unveils Flushing Meadows Soccer Stadium Plan
FLUSHING MEADOWS — Major League Soccer took the wraps off its long-rumored plan to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Friday, officially revealing the proposal to the public.
The plans, first reported by the Queens Courier, would place a 25,000-seat stadium on top of what is currently Industry Pond. The stadium, which would be privately financed, would host a new, expansion MLS team and would be open for 20 games a year.
A deal with the city has not been reached yet, but the league hopes to reach an accord within the next month.
“This is a project that we have been dreaming about since the league was founded many, many years ago in 1996,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.
The league expects the stadium to bring 2,300 union jobs to the area, and 160 full-time and 750 part-time jobs upon completion.
According to Garber, the league looked at several locations in New York, including Manhattan's Pier 40, before settling on the Flushing Meadows.
“We settled here in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park because we think it’s the absolute perfect place to have our 20th team,” he said.
Garber said that 10-13 acres of land would need to be alienated for the stadium's construction. However MLS would have to replace any parkland used. The league has looked at multiple, including an MTA-owned lot on the western end of Willet's Point and an empty train lot in Rego Park. In addition, the league has offered to renovate nine soccer fields located around the site of the stadium.
Community activists have been critical about the transformation of parkland for the stadium, but Garber said that the league will reach out for community input within the next month.
Elected officials have expressed concern over the stadium as well. State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, whose district includes the park, supports the idea of a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows, but isn't sold on the replacement parks that will be provided.
"We're going to take a look at their plans," said Stavisky, who believes the league conducted an exhaustive search potential parkland sites. "This is something that requires considerable more study."
"We want to be able to make it work," Stavisky said of the stadium, "but we also want to protect our constituents."
Garber said the league aims for a groundbreaking in 2014, with a planned opening in 2016 or 2017. SHoP, which designed the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will design the new stadium.