NYCFC is finally getting a stadium of its own, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday. The 25,000-seat stadium would open in 2027 and anchor a mixed-use development of the area across the street from Citi Field’s rightfield foul pole. The 23-acre project also would include 2,500 units of housing and a 250-room hotel. Credit: NY Mayor's Office

New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled plans on Wednesday for a mixed-use economic development in Willets Point with a 25,000-seat, soccer-specific stadium as its centerpiece following an agreement between the city and New York City Football Club, a Major League Soccer team. The stadium is expected to be ready in 2027. 

The development plans include 2,500 units of affordable housing, a 250-room hotel and an elementary school in the area across the street from Citi Field, the home of the Mets.

“This is a major step forward with our city, one that delivers on our blueprint for economic recovery and affordable housing,” Adams said during an event at the Queens Museum. “It’s a rare opportunity to create a complete neighborhood with homes, schools and economic opportunities.”

Adams said the project is expected to generate $6.1 billion in economic impact over the next 30 years, creating 1,550 permanent jobs and 14,200 construction jobs.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • NYC Mayor Eric Adams unveiled plans to redevelop the Queens neighborhood of Willets Point, an industrial area consisting of auto shops and junkyards across the street from Citi Field, the home of the Mets.
  • The centerpiece of the plan is a 25,000-seat professional soccer stadium where the New York City Football Club will play. NYCFC has been playing most of its home games at Yankee Stadium but has struggled to find a permanent home since its inception in 2013.
  • NYCFC will pay for construction of the soccer stadium, which is expected to be completed by 2027.
  • 2,500 units of affordable housing, a 250-room hotel and a school are part of the project, which is expected to create 1,550 permanent jobs and 14,200 construction jobs.

The affordable housing units will be spread across seven buildings, the first of which is expected to begin construction next year. It will include 220 homes that will be available for low-income seniors. The development is the largest 100% affordable housing project in the city since the 1970s, Adams said.

The project is a milestone for Willets Point, a neighborhood famous for auto shops, damaged roads and poor drainage. The project also will include the Queens Development Group, which consists of real estate firms Related Companies and Sterling Equities, which is owned by the Wilpon family, the former majority owner of the Mets.

“This is a blighted, underutilized and ignored piece of real estate in our city with little infrastructure that was prone to flooding,” Adams said. “Environmental cleanup and infrastructure improvements for sewage, storm lines and waterways are already underway.”

NYCFC, which has been playing most games at Yankee Stadium since 2015, will pay for the cost of the stadium. The club is majority-owned by City Football Group, the Abu Dhabi-based soccer conglomerate that also owns English champions Manchester City, and minority owned by the Yankees.

NYCFC’s search for a suitable place to build the city’s first professional soccer stadium began with the club’s inception in 2013. The club previously bid for land at Belmont Park, ultimately the site of the Islanders’ UBS Arena, and later sought to redevelop Yankee Stadium’s parking garages. Scheduling conflicts with the Yankees often led NYCFC to use several home venues over a season.

“Our fans were itinerant spectators who needed new GPS coordinates to attend games week-to-week in different locations, but that incomplete condition ends today,” said NYCFC vice chairman Marty Edelman.

MLS commissioner Don Garber, as well as Adams and Edelman, credited NYC council member Francisco Moya with leading the charge to make Queens NYCFC’s home.

"The location is more centralized to broader swaths of population than almost any other location that we were looking at,” Garber told Newsday. “Now they can open up the Long Island fan base; it's a hotbed of soccer. We now can tap into the five boroughs in ways that are very accessible. And I think because of people's regular engagement with the Mets and their connection to the [USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center], it's just a perfect location."

NYCFC supporter groups were in attendance, chanting “that’s my mayor,” as Adams entered. For fans weary of the club’s nomadic status, it was a welcome announcement.

“We’ve gotten a lot of red herrings along the way, a lot of smoke without a lot of fire,” said NYCFC fan Marc Pharel of Brooklyn. “As long as it was within the five boroughs, we’d always be happy.”

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