Feeling The Heat. After failing to secure a home for a 20th team in the league in Hudson River Park MLS's commissioner Don Graber (above) set his sights on Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and is depending on Queens elected officials to deliver it by handing over public parkland -which apparently he does not consider "public support." (Photo: Shawn Inglima/NY Daily News)
In an effort to try and contain the mounting community opposition to the building of a 35,000 seat soccer stadium and concert venue on Wednesday Mr. Garber tried to put public pressure on the City by threatening to make a deal soon or else they would go elsewhere - a common tactic used by corporations trying extract government subsidies.
In November Mr. Graber famiously said the league was “at the finish line” in negotiations with the city. Yesterday however he said "The deal is not near final that would provide us with the ability to have a team that would be successful."
MLS's plan would seize 13 acres of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Critics have repeatedly pointed out is it hard to take the proposal seriously when the league has yet to find an owner for the new team, figure out how to pay for the stadium, locate replacement park site, or develop a parking plan. - Geoffrey Croft
Don Garber says the proposed $350 million soccer complex is a 'great deal' for New York City
Don Garber, commissioner of MLS, warned the city on Wednesday that his soccer league will look elsewhere to expand if it can't cut a deal with officials for a new Corona Park stadium in a relatively short period, according to the New York Daily News.
"If we're not successful we'll throw our hands up, and it'll be far sooner than three years we throw our hands up," Garber said, after his opening season address.
"Then we'd take a step back and see if there's another market. Three years is too long. I don't want to put a year limit on it. But if it's not making progress, the time will come. There's a lot of activity in other markets."
Orlando has been mentioned as a possible alternative site for a 20th MLS team, though Garber sounded committed for now to Flushing Meadows.
"It's the biggest challenge we've ever faced," Garber said. "But you ask Bruce Ratner, Jim Dolan, Charles Wang of the Islanders or Jeff Vanderbeek of the Devils, they'll tell you this is an incredibly valuable market. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, so it's worth the effort."
Garber said negotiations continued with several private investors, and that the project would be built exclusively with private financing, for a relatively modest $350 million, including the replacement of parkland and soccer fields.
Garber said he thought the league deserved some public monetary support, but "we get that's not going to happen."
"The deal is not near final that would provide us with the ability to have a team that would be successful," Garber said.
"We think the city is getting a great deal."
A recent architectural rendering of a Queens stadium was leaked to the public, but the league has distanced itself from those blueprints and says that nothing is finalized.
Garber also distanced himself on Wednesday from the Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and their proposed stadium in Belmont.
"They had a choice to make, vie for an MLS New York City team or go into the second division," he said about the Cosmos. "They decided to go into the second division."
MLS commissioner Don Garber sets time limit for deal to build soccer stadium in Queens, says league will explore other cities if necessary
New York Daily News - February 27, 2013 - By Filip Bondy