New York Times hatchet job cherry-picks facts in report on NYCFC stadium $516 million taxpayer giveaway
Those of us who read the New York Times are usually delighted to find a mention of New York City FC in those storied pages. Earlier this morning, the Times published an article titled “Will New York’s Soccer Stadium Cost Taxpayers $0 or $516 Million?” While the Journal of Record can’t always be bothered to cover a deep playoff run, it will sniff out a story if it involves politics, real estate and a headline that could involve a fat, juicy dollar amount.
The article reviewed a report released by the Independent Budget Office that said the city will lose $1.7 billion in property taxes over the course of the 49-year lease for NYCFC’s proposed stadium at Willets Point, or $516 million in dollars. today. Because the land is leased, and not purchased, no property tax will be paid.
How can NYCFC do this New York City? After all, the New York Times certainly knows that every single sports arena within the Five Boroughs pays property taxes.
That’s right: No stadium or arena in the city pays property taxes. This isn’t some sly exception negotiated in smoke-filled back rooms and signed in invisible ink, it’s perfectly normal here in Gotham. Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center don’t pay property taxes, and while you could argue that the $345.3 million the city could have collected in 2022 from those four amounts alone is a form of corporate welfare, it’s done. here. In fact, of the dozens of parcels of land in New York that have been granted a tax exemption of $5 million or more, only World Trade City ($168.2 million) surpasses Yankee Stadium ($110.9 million), Citi Field ( 106 million dollars). and Barclays Center ($85.2 million). If you want to see the numbers for yourself, click on the city’s Annual Report on Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2022 and scroll down to page 170. Fun stuff.
We’re going to do some math in our heads and pretend that if these four paid just 10% of their property tax liability, or about $34 million, the city would benefit far more than NYC.
FC pay 100% of their property taxes, which appear to be around $10 million.
The truth is that the NYCFC stadium deal is extremely transparent and straightforward. We’d even go so far as to say it’s the most beneficial development of its kind in New York State:
• NYCFC will pay the city rent that will start at $500,000 a year and rise to $4 million by the end of the 49-year lease, while the Yankees pay just $1 a year for the park beneath their stadium.
• NYCFC will finance their own stadium, while the Buffalo Bills received an $850 million gift when the state agreed to directly subsidize construction costs.
• NYCFC Stadium will be the catalyst for a $2 billion complex of 2,500 affordable housing units, and construction on the stadium will begin only after housing is underway, while Barclays Center anchors a luxury development with 4,000 affordable apartments market and 2,250 affordable apartments. units – 877 of which have yet to be built a full 12 years after the arena opened.
• The property tax exemption for NYCFC Stadium is part of the development conditions, while Madison Square Garden’s exemption is the result of a 1982 law that specifically benefits the arena and is periodically renewed.
Not only does the New York Times article eliminate these key considerations, it treats the Willets Point development as some sort of billionaire land grab by citing the estimated personal wealth of Stephen M. Ross, chairman of Related Companies, one of the project’s developers. , and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, owner of City Football Group, parent company of NYCFC. Blame it on net worth, but all it really tells us is that the people who build mega-developments in New York and who own major league sports teams tend to have piles of cash.
Our educated guess is that the city’s Independent Budget Office has crunched the numbers for the Willets Point development and released a report saying the stadium will cost $1.7 billion in property taxes over the course of the lease, which amounts to 516 million dollars in today’s dollars. and that the New York Times decided to sensationalize that figure in order to turn a piece of the Metro into something that would catch the eye of their readers.
It seemed to have worked. We took the bait.