Owned in part by the Yankees and a billionaire from Abu Dhabi, the New York City Football Club (NYCFC) has been seeking a permanent home since its formation in 2013. Since this time it has been playing most of its home games at the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
A site for a potential NYCFC Stadium has been proposed near Macombs Dam Park, bounded by East 165th Street to the north, 149th Street to the south, Grand Concourse to the east, and Harlem River to the west. As with any major league sports venue, the new football stadium will have significant impact on the both the residential and business communities within the neighborhood. So, what are these impacts? And in addition, how can a new development of this nature and scope be a welcomed, connected, and engaging addition to the neighborhood?
To address this the Community Board Four (CB4) in the Bronx approached the Urban Land Institute New York (ULI) to conduct a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP). ULI is a non-profit education and research organization, which provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining communities worldwide. Its New York Technical Assistance Panel provides expert multidisciplinary and objective advice on land use and real estate issues facing Governments, public agencies and non-profit organizations. Drawing from its extensive membership base ULI New York conducts one and two day panels offering unbi¬ased, pragmatic solutions, best practice advice, and market-based strategies to local decision-makers on a wide variety of complex land use challenges, ranging from site-specific projects to public policy questions.
The Bronx Community Board Four TAP Panel comprised of real estate professionals with development, finance, legal and design expertise and included Board Director and Head of Design Research Unit for global architectural practice, Scott Brownrigg, Neil MacOmish.
With over 36 years of design experience, Neil is an expert in the design of sporting venues. Having worked on the 2010 Ryder Cup venue – Celtic Manor in Wales, UK, the SWALEC Stadium, Wales in preparation for the 2009 Ashes Test, the home of the Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey team in Wales, the Kia Oval Cricket Ground in London and the International Sports Village destination in Cardiff to name but a few. As a specialist in stadia design, he has a knowledge and under¬standing of sightlines, spectator movement, media and back of house facilities including outside broadcasting requirements. And, how these can integrate into complex urban fabric and existing communities. This experience proved a valuable asset to the technical panel. In particular, Neil understands the consequences of the stadium management plan in terms of access, safety, evacuation and acoustic sensitivities on adjacent and surrounding neighbourhoods. Perhaps uniquely, Neil has also played soccer professionally.
Together with studying the site, the panel interviewed a variety of community stakeholders and arrived at three key categories of recommendations to address as the NYCFC stadium discussions progress as follows: