NYCFC has gained approval to build a new 25,000-seat arena at Willets Point, an industrial neighbourhood in Queens right next to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team. The club hopes to have the $780 million project completed in time for the team to make it their home for the 2027 MLS season.
The 2021 MLS Cup winner hopes the stadium will form a central part of the major revitalisation of the area which was announced by New York City mayor Eric Adams in November and, according to the club, will be the city’s largest 100% affordable housing development for 40 years.
The proposals include housing, pedestrian-friendly streets, various retail and food outlets, a school, a hotel, over 40,000 square feet of public space and the new NYCFC stadium with adjoining concourse, which will provide a long overdue permanent home for the team.
NYCFC has been playing its home games at Yankee Stadium, the eponymous residence of the New York Yankees baseball team, since 2015. However, scheduling conflicts have often forced the MLS side to stage matches in New Jersey and Connecticut in recent years.
The club, part of the City Football Group that comprises 12 teams including Manchester City and Melbourne City, has explored the possibility of building its own stadium in New York on several occasions in the past. However, proposed plans for sites in Queens and the south Bronx proved not to be viable. But now, with the latest project getting the green light, the club has shared architects’ renderings of the arena, which they hope will function as a community resource on non-match days.
The club says that the stadium was designed using five core principles: first and foremost creating the best possible live experience for football fans in New York. It also has to represent the city in an authentic manner, be embedded organically into the local community, be made future-proof and also be built sustainably.
The images depict a modern area with single-tier “Kop” style stands on three sides (complete with designated safe standing areas) and a large, four-tier executive stand on the other. The famous NYCFC smokestacks will billow from the top of one stand, which is designed with fans unfurling large banners for tifo displays in mind.
External views of the stadium reveal that the main entrance will take the form of a giant illuminated “cube” on the southwest corner of the plot. The plaza will project dynamic imagery on match days and serve as a welcoming gateway into the ground interior for fans.
The specific location of the NYCFC Bowl within the heart of an urban city neighbourhood was inspired by several existing stadiums around the world, including Fulham‘s Craven Cottage.
NYCFC unveils images of New York City’s first soccer stadium