FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, GOVERNOR PATAKI AND NEW YORK METS UNVEIL DESIGN PLANS FOR NEW BALLPARK
Project to Create More than 6,000 Construction and Nearly 1,000 Permanent Jobs
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki and the New York Mets today unveiled the architectural and design plans for a new Mets ballpark. The Mets will begin construction on the privately-financed, state-of-the-art facility later this year in the outfield parking lot between Shea Stadium and 126th Street. The Mets expect to complete construction by Opening Day 2009, which will usher in a new era of unprecedented sightlines, amenities, and comfort for Mets fans, and visitors to the New York metropolitan area. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, Empire State Development Corporation Chairman Charles A. Gargano and New York Mets President Saul Katz, Owner Fred Wilpon, COO Jeff Wilpon and Manager Willie Randolph attended the announcement in Shea Stadium’s Diamond Club in Queens.
“The Mets new ballpark, which will be built in the parking lot to the east of Shea, will merge the intimate feel of the old, classic ballparks like Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field with the amenities of today’s modern sports facilities, and further enhance our efforts to redevelop neighboring Willets Point and Flushing,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our breakthrough agreement with the Mets helped to create the foundation for a beautiful new home for the team while at the same time relieving the City of its obligation to maintain Shea Stadium, thereby saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. We thank the Mets for taking on the financial responsibility of building, operating, and maintaining a new ballpark that will serve baseball fans throughout the City, and that will create more than 6,000 construction jobs and preserve the 1,000 full-time jobs currently at Shea while also generating tens of millions of dollars in incremental fiscal revenue for the City and State over the life of the new lease.”
“Today marks a new era in Mets baseball, as we unveil plans for a brand new state-of-the-art ball park – one that will dramatically enhance the experience of fans, provide the team with even better facilities, and stimulate the regional economy,” said Governor George E. Pataki. “This great project will solidify the Amazins’ future in New York by providing a world-class entertainment and sports facility that will create thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and spur further investment and opportunity right here in Queens. I want to thank the Wilpons and Saul Katz for believing in New York, investing in New York, and giving another generation of New Yorkers the chance to feel the unique excitement and pride that is Mets baseball.”
“The ‘new millennium’ Mets will have a new and improved facility to call home,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said. “While New Yorkers look forward to this sparkling venue as a home for their beloved Mets, they also see it as a catalyst to spark development from here to Willets Point. Speaking for the New York State Assembly and especially for the members of our Queens Assembly Delegation, I join all New Yorkers in saying, ‘Let’s Go Mets!’”
“The new Mets Ballpark is a spectacular showcase for the Borough of Queens that creates new jobs for Queens residents and opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses in our community,” said Queens Borough President Marshall. “The Mets have been a Queens treasure since the club moved to Flushing in 1964 and the new ballpark continues our efforts in making Flushing Meadows Corona Park a premier venue for spectator and participatory sports.”
“Our new ballpark is the realization of a dream – to create a world-class environment and enduring experience for everyone, especially for the best fans in all of sports,” said Fred Wilpon, Chairman of the Board & CEO, New York Mets. “This new ballpark will become the home our fans have long deserved, one created for shared celebrations among future generations of Mets fans.”
“The new Mets Ballpark will become a destination attraction for the enjoyment of fans in the borough of Queens, residents of the tri-state area, and those visiting New York City,” said Jeff Wilpon, COO, New York Mets. “It will be one of the finest sports and entertainment facilities in the world. We thank the Borough, City, and State for their financial commitment and support of our private financing for this ambitious project.”
The new ballpark was designed by the internationally renowned HOK Sport, which has designed and renovated thirteen of the thirty Major League ballparks in use today, and seven of the last eight to open in Major League Baseball. Hunt-Bovis, a joint venture of Hunt Construction Group and Bovis Lend Lease, will provide construction management.
The open-air Mets ballpark will feature natural grass and capacity for approximately 45,000 fans within the 1.26 million square foot facility. A contoured seating configuration will bring spectators closer to the field on all levels to provide optimal sightlines for a more intimate and entertaining experience throughout the park. The stadium will maintain existing parking capacity.
The stadium design pays tribute to Brooklyn’s former Ebbets Field with brick and limestone arches, and keystones and arched mullions in the glass. The exterior façade will be punctuated by granite and limestone pilasters topped with capitals. Wide pedestrian walkways will facilitate circulation and lead fans to the main entry rotunda behind home plate. A structural steel “bridge” motif throughout the new ballpark will reinforce the Mets’ connection to New York’s five boroughs while also symbolically linking the team’s storied tradition to its future. The ballpark’s classic architecture will become a central part of the cultural landscape of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
A landscaped plaza around the ballpark will welcome fans and improve access. At the home plate, first and third base sides, the plaza will extend out up to 100 feet, creating a landscaped buffer to the parking area to create space for pre- and post-game activities, vendors, and other amenities. Trees and banners will line the footpaths, which also will depict highlights of club history to enhance the overall experience of the game and its ambient environment for the fans. A three-story, 100,000 square foot building, along 126th Street, will house the Mets executive offices, as well as retail space and other amenities.
The new ballpark will have many additional fan enhancements and amenities, including superior sightlines throughout the stadium, vastly improved access and circulation, wider seats with more legroom, more elevators, concession areas and restrooms, new restaurants, suites and clubs and additional family-friendly attractions, such as an expanded Fan Fest family entertainment area, multiple party deck areas and an interactive Mets museum with club memorabilia and Hall of Fame displays.
“The New Mets Ballpark will play an integral role in the revitalization of the entire Flushing area and the redevelopment of Willets Point,” said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. “The project brings thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in private investment to an area of the City that needs both.”
“The public investment through this new partnership with the Mets will deliver a very favorable return over the span of the agreement,” said ESDC Chairman Gargano. “We salute the Mets for their vision and dedication toward bringing this landmark development for the Borough, City, and State to fruition.”
The Mets will construct the new ballpark at their own expense and have requested approval from the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) for the issuance of $632 million in tax-exempt and taxable bonds. The tax-exempt bonds will be supported by payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) from an affiliate of the Mets, subject to the approval of the City Council, and the taxable bonds will be supported by payments of stadium rent from the same affiliate. The bonds will be repaid solely from these payments and will not ultimately be obligations of the City or the NYCIDA. The State will contribute approximately $75 million to infrastructure relating to the project, while the City will contribute approximately $90 million to infrastructure improvements. The Mets will enter into a lease for the new stadium with an expected term of at least 35 years, together with a non-relocation agreement covering this entire term.
The new stadium is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars in incremental fiscal revenue for the City and State over the next 37 years. Construction of the stadium is expected to create more than 6,000 temporary, full-time equivalent jobs, while ongoing stadium operations are expected to result in nearly 1,000 permanent full-time equivalent jobs.
The City and State have been working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on both short term and long term options to make additional transit service available for Mets fans and to encourage more fans to take mass transit to games. There will be additional service on MTA New York City Transit’s number 7 subway line, with as many as 14 additional trains available on weeknights and up to 12 additional trains available on weekends and after matinee games. MTA Long Island Rail Road service has also been expanded on the Port Washington branch line. The MTA is also working on additional marketing and promotional efforts with the Mets that will encourage the use of public transportation.
A 3-D virtual video tour as well as renderings and a comprehensive overview of the new Mets Ballpark are available at www.mets.com.
Stu Loeser/Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Joanna Rose (Governor) (212) 681-4640
Jay Horwitz (NY Mets) (718) 565-4330
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