No Surprise. For years critics of the Yankee Stadium redevelopment project have predicted the city's tax-payers would be on the hook for the parking garages in the deal negotiated by the Bloomberg administration. Compounding the problem, the administration gave the Yankee organization 600 free spots in the VIP garage (above). The Yankees Win. The Yankees Win.
As of this month, Bronx Parking Development LLC owes the city $8.7 million in back rent and interest. That tab will soon grow to more than $10million because city officials have allowed the firm to defer the rest of this year's rent as well.
When the city and state originally unveiled plans in 2005 for a new Yankee Stadium, they also agreed to increase the number of stadium parking spaces to 9,000 - a key condition of Yankees executives for staying in the Bronx.
The state contributed $70 million in cash for new garages, while the city donated park land and provided tax-exempt financing.
At the time, everyone promised the new garages would produce annual rent revenues for the city at least equal to the $3million the old garages generated. But deep in the fine print, the city inserted a provision that allowed the developer to defer any city payments in years where cash flow was insufficient.
"Last year, occupancy [for the garages] was lower than the analysis predicted," said David Lombino, a spokesman for the city's Economic Development Administration. "As the economy improves, we can expect that occupancy would improve."
Don't hold your breath.
Bronx Parking's audited financial reports show the garages produced $12 million in revenue during the Yankees championship season last year. That was a little more than the company projected when it launched the project.