Jets Stadium, West Side Manhattan - Yea or Nay?

I suppose this debate will be mainly of local interest to New York City-area Dopers, and I imagine most of us already know a lot about the subject. For those who are not familiar with it, this article has a good overview of the plan and the arguments of the opposing sides.

Personally, I’m in favor of this. Even opponents of the stadium admit that the Javits Convention Center will need to be expanded anyway, which means that a lot of the money that the city would spend on the platform over the rail yards and extending the 7 train will be spent anyway. A very large structure will then need to be built, with or without the Jets’ money…why not make it “with”?

There would be extra traffic during football season, but that’s only 8-10 games per year. Also, I think the traffic fears are exaggerated. Since the stadium would be on the waterfront, many would-be drivers could be convinced to take ferries…especially if the stadium ferry terminal were set up with a special “tailgate” area.

One of the anti arguments is that we’re unlikely to get the 2012 Summer Olympics because the 2010 Winter Olympics are being held in North America, and that we should at least wait until the Olympics are awarded to us before considering building this. First of all, I question the reason for the unlikihood - don’t we have Athens in 2004 immediately followed by Turin in 2006? But more so, why should we be fixated on 2012? If a New York Olympics is a good idea (a subject that is itself quite debatable), the stadium could anchor a 2016 or 2020 bid.

Finally, and most importantly, there is the Super Bowl. That event brings in millions of dollars to the host city, and a domed stadium on Manhattan’s west side will be able to host it. This is a major argument, I think, against those who are pushing a Queens location for a possible Jets stadium. When all these visitors come into the city, won’t they spend more if the stadium is just a stone’s throw away from Broadway, Times Square and (ironically, considering the Dolans’ opposition) Madison Square Garden? Won’t the city make more tax revenue from Super Bowl visitors staying in swanky Manhattan hotels than at the Ramada Inn-Laguardia?

I think New York City would be foolish to kill the Jets stadium proposal, end up having to pay the full cost of Javits Center expansion and either let New Jersey keep all of the region’s football revenue or build a totally separate structure for the Jets elsewhere.

But…what do you guys think?

This could either turn into Jacobs Field in Cleveland, or Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

I say put it in Queens, near the other end of the 7 subway line. The transportation structure is there already.

The Jets’ fan base is Queens/Brooklyn/LI/CT. Seems to me a stadium siting decision should be based on developing that market, and should also bear in mind the condition and economic viability of Shea Stadium, and also that the Jets and Mets share the same fan base.

Put a new ballpark and an adjacent new football stadium in Flushing Meadows, near the tennis stadium, and make the Shea site a parking lot. If Steinbrenner wants a new ballpark for the Yanks, let him buy the West Side site and build one there. But you don’t need to spend taxpayer money; just be willing to call them GeneriCorp Ballpark and BigCo Field at GigantiTech Plaza or something like that. Other facilities have been built with private money on that basis and the business cases have worked.

I just don’t see why the city should be putting up much or any of the money. It’s a private team. Most studies on these sorts of things show that they almost always fail to bring in any net business: that they are basically a sinkhole deal for tax dollars to go to private business with no return. Teams like this make enormous profits, and yet still petulantly demand that taxpayers fund them. Let football fans fund them via ticket prices, ad deals, and so on. Not taxpayers.

As a lifelong Hell’s Kitchen resident (51st between 10th and 11th, 20 blocks away from the proposed stadium) and a Giants fan, I am biased against the stadium plan.

In the first place, the negative effects of the stadium would fall right on my head: several years of construction gumming up the works in an already congested neighborhood; near total gridlock for several hours on gamedays; also on gamedays, 70,000 drunken and (knowing the Jets) generally pissed off football fans being deposited directly into an urban residential area.

Second, this is a stadium for the Jets? Who cares about the Jets? Why should they have a nicer stadium then the Giants? Screw that.

I live in Orange and I am being asked, through my tax dollars, to fund a stadium that I won’t use. I’d much rather the money I give to NY be used for roads, schools, police or fire departments, snow removal, etc.

I’m a Jets fan. Until this coming season, I was a season ticket holder. And I would have renewed this year if they were in Manhattan (the schlep out there is cake – coming back is pure hell).

That said, this is the worst use for the railyards I can think of. I think the parking infrastructure problem would work itself out (maybe park 'em at Shea and run shuttles and the 7 train), but that “land” is to valuable to have something that just sits there most of the time. Housing would be better, if someone thinks they can make a buck at it. Alternatively, distribution, light manufacturing or even truck parking (which would open up other areas on the far west side for alternative development) would be better than a stadium.

I think that Javits does have to grow to remain competitive, though. So privatize it (or semi-privatize it), allow the owner to issue muni bonds to finance the expansion and if I’m right that the project will have a positive return there should be no problem repaying the bonds.

The outer boroughs or New Jersey is the correct place to have huge-footprinted structures like a stadium – it’s just too congested here, and land values are too high, to make a go of it.

I’m opposed for Apos’s reasons. Sports do not bring money into cities. Period. People like to imagine they do, but they’re wrong. And there’s no way in hell that public funds should be used to subsidize some private-sector boondoggle that only benefits some wealthy developers and team owners while simultaneously worsening traffic and infrastructure costs for the city.

The needs of the Jets are almost incidential to this whole proposal. They only play eight games a year in town unless they make the playoffs. The thing driving this proposal is the need for larger convention facilities – I’ve heard Giuliani, a big supporter of the plan, talking about major conventions that NYC is losing to cities with bigger facilities. (I recall him citing the ABA convention, for example). Indeed, he said that MSG’s size was a major sticking point over getting the upcoming Republican convention – the Pubbies are going to be squeezing into a site much smaller than what they would have preferred.

And that’s why the notion of moving the project to Queens is unfeasible. Conventioneers don’t want to stay in outer boroughs. They want to be in Manhattan.

I, incidentally, don’t have an opinion one way or the other. But the choice really is Upper West or nothing – other sites simply aren’t feasible.

Separate subjects entirely, Dewey. There is nothing to prevent the convention center from being expanded, and in fact it might be a *better * convention center if it didn’t also have to be a stadium. A new stadium might be a better stadium if it didn’t also have to be a convention center.

As for developing the Jets’ fan base, it would certainly be easier for the fans of LI etc. to do if they could once again be seen more as their own home team, not always on road trips into the city. Making the playoffs would help even more, of course.

Without the convention angle, the Jets don’t get a new stadium. Ergo, talking about sites in Queens is a non-starter. Like I said, the Jets are almost irrelevant to this particular discussion (although I do suspect the “fans on LI” would prefer a team in Manhattan to a team in New Jersey).

The only real question is whether to build anew or expand Javits. And that’s just a feasibility question, with decent arguments on both sides.

Why? New stadiums have been built in a lot of places recently, with private-only financing at that, without being combined with unrelated projects. What’s so damn different about NYC that makes it impossible even to consider there?

I can’t conceive of possibly caring less unless it affects my transportation options or imposes a tax burden, in which case the caring I will experience will all be actively negative.


and Apos:

The city wouldn’t be putting up the money for the stadium structure. The Jets have offered to pay 800 million to build the stadium itself, and are only asking the city to build the platform over the rail yards. If the lot is going to be used for ANYTHING, the platform needs to be built.


Why would that necessarily be true? A convention center is basically a huge, covered open space (with certain general human amenities) which every convention customizes to its own needs. Why would additional space added to the Javits that can’t be used as a stadium (and likely built entirely with public money) be preferable to additional space added to the Javits that can be used as a stadium (and built with the money the Jets have promised)?

Okay. The Jets can come up with $800M, more btw than it cost to build Gillette Stadium, the state-of-the-art facility, which gets no other use other than soccer games and some rock concerts. They could make the same deal on any of the other sites that could be made available, and for that price there’d be a lot. So are they more interested in convention revenue than in ticket sales? That’s their call, but it doesn’t have to work that way. The Patriots wanted their new stadium in Southie, next to Boston’s convention center, but it’s profitable out in Foxboro too.

If the city wants to develop the site and needs the platform to make it attractive, they can go ahead and invest in one, and add the cost to the asking price.

Well, there’s that field, which is going to be trampled upon and torn up by conventiongoers and exhibit areas, forcing it to be artificial (and even then the maintenance costs are higher). Any other events would have to be scheduled around the game schedule, and that could get to be a severe headache on short notice if the team ever makes the playoffs. There’s the presence of all that tiered seating - does that help any non-political convention all that much?

[quote[Why would additional space added to the Javits that can’t be used as a stadium (and likely built entirely with public money) be preferable to additional space added to the Javits that can be used as a stadium (and built with the money the Jets have promised)?[/QUOTE]
Because AFAIK business/industry conventions, which covers most of them, are most attracted to the most flexible facilities, both in size and geometry. That means flat, open, roofed, concrete-floored areas, not stadium bowls with small 150x350 ft or so areas inside. The luxury boxes would have some use in conventions, though.
Take it from a veteran taxpayer, guys, don’t fall for the trap of thinking that the proposal in front of you is the only one you’ll ever get, and you’ll have to agree to it or get nothing. We’ve been through that up here in Boston with the new football stadium and arena, and I literally can’t count the number of proposals over the decades for each that got presented and debated before the deals were finally struck. What you’re seeing now is just a stage in negotiations over both financing and siting, and an early stage at that. There’s no hurry, either for a new stadium or to develop the railyards - you’ll get the best deal if you say No to this and to the next few proposals that come along, *then * you’ll start to see the good ones.

Opposed. Not that I buy into all the west-side opponents reasons, just some of the ones mentioned in this thread: Floating bonds, 8 games a year, to place to tailgate, drink beer and pee.

Radical NYC land development hijack:
Move Riker’s to Arthur Kill and sell the island to land developers.