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New York City’s First Soccer Stadium might not be good for the city (OP-ED)

In the lead-up to the 2028 Olympics, New York City has kick-started development on its first-ever soccer stadium, “The Cube,” at Willets Point in Queens. This project has been a long time coming for the New York City Football Club, and for the Eric Adams administration, the new stadium could be a means to revitalize the area.

“I’m proud that New York City will be home to the first fully electric sports stadium in Major League Soccer,” said Adams in November. “It’s imperative that we continue our shift to a more sustainable and resilient future, helping New York to better prepare for a changing climate. As a city, we’re reshaping our relationship with energy: how we generate, store, and use it. New York City Football Club’s stadium will serve as a model for that goal. New York City has taken significant steps to become more sustainable, resilient, and equitable, and this proposed stadium encompasses those commitments.”

With a seat count of over 25,000 and a 49-year-long lease, the project is set to cost around $780 million. However, that cost isn’t just for the stadium. The project will also develop NYC’s largest affordable housing initiative in over 40 years, which includes 2,500 units of affordable housing, a 650-seat public school, 40,000 square feet of public and retail space, and a 250-key hotel.

Despite these ambitious plans, dissent against the project remains, mainly from the community it’s proposed to help. New stadiums often drain public funding and can cause unintended harm by increasing road congestion. Concerns are heightened given that New York City already hosts other iconic stadiums and attractions, leading many to fear that The Cube will exacerbate traffic issues.

While more affordable housing units are desperately needed, many worry that they won’t be sufficient to alleviate the ongoing housing crisis. There is also concern about preserving the historic culture of the communities surrounding the new stadium, which are largely low-income. These developments could lead to gentrification, pushing out long-time residents.

However, the Adams administration projects that the stadium will generate $6.1 billion in revenue during its lease, potentially providing the funds necessary to keep the area thriving.

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