New York City FC to finally decamp from Yankee Stadium for new soccer-dedicated home in Willets Point, Queens

Pitch Perfect?

New York City FC to finally decamp from Yankee Stadium for new soccer-dedicated home in Willets Point, Queens

Conceptual rendering of planned redevelopment zone in WIllets Point, Queens, including a new soccer stadium for NYCFC. (S9 Architecture)

The New York Mets are getting a new neighbor.

As first revealed yesterday by the New York Times and formally announced by New York City Mayor Eric Adams this morning, a deal has been confirmed that will relocate Major League Soccer team New York City Football Club (NYCFC) from its current (meant-to-be-temporary) home at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to a new soccer-specific venue opposite Citi Field in the Willets Point section of Queens.

The 25,000-seat NYCFC stadium will anchor a 23-acre mixed-used development helmed by Related Companies, partnering with Sterling Equities in a joint venture dubbed Queens Development Group. The ground-up neighborhood is set to include a 250-room hotel, retail, and 2,500 housing units that will be 100 percent affordable, marking the largest all-affordable housing project to be constructed in the city in the last 40 years, according to a press announcement from the mayor’s office. The Adams administration also noted that construction on seven all-affordable apartment buildings at the site would be accelerated and include a 220-unit complex for low-income seniors. A new public school, large swaths of open green space, and significant infrastructural upgrades are also part of the ambitious development plan.

Although unclear as of this writing who has been tapped to design the stadium itself, it was previously announced that S9 Architecture will oversee the design of the residential components of the newest Big Apple megadevelopment, which will be built entirely on city-owned land and leased to the development team and NYCFC, the latter of which will sign a $4 million annual 49-year lease, with the option for a 25-year extension. S9 has also produced early conceptual renderings of what the reimagined section of Willets Point will look like when work is completed.

rendering of a mixed-use neigborhood
(S9 Architecture)

The new stadium, which will be wholly financed by NYCFC to the tune of an estimated $780 million, is slated to open in 2027. This is a later date than the 2025 opening (which would come ahead of 2026 FIFA World Cup) initially announced when Willets Point was revealed this past July to be the proposed location of the new stadium.

The project, including the stadium and surrounding redevelopment zone, 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.

“Our plan will deliver 2,500 affordable homes — New York City’s largest fully affordable housing project in decades,” said Adams. And with a fully privately financed soccer stadium, a hotel, and local retail, we will create not only homes but also quality jobs, $6 billion in economic activity, and a true pathway to the middle class. This is what it means to build a ‘City of Yes.’”

The deal struck between the city and NYCFC concludes a nearly decade-long quest for the team to secure a permanent home. Established in 2013 with its inaugural season kicking off in 2015, the team has primarily (but not exclusively) hosted its home matches at, as mentioned, Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, the team’s epic, borough-spanning search for a permanent home has generated headlines over the past several years. Past proposed MLS stadium sites, some of which preclude the formal establishment of NYCFL and some more seriously considered than others, have included Pier 40 on Manhattan’s West Side, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, Columbia University’s Baker Athletics Complex in Inwood, Belmont Park in Long Island, and two South Bronx Sites, one at Harlem River Yards Park and another near Bronx Terminal Market. Many of these proposals, including the Flushing Meadows–Corona Park plan, have been met with fierce public opposition.

view of a street lined by auto repair shops
View of Willets Point Boulevard, an industrial area dominated by auto body shops and scrap yards. (Jim Henderson/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

As for the Willets Point site, the new stadium, first proposed in 2018 by a coalition known as the Willets Point Task Force, is set to be located just east of Citi Field and near the U.S. Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in a sprawling industrial zone described by the Times as a “once thriving conglomeration of auto body shops.” The mayor’s office said adding the NYCFC stadium to Willets Point (a.k.a. the Iron Triangle) will transform the area into the “city’s premier sports hub.”

Notably, the NYCFC is the only New York City–based professional sports franchise to win a championship since the Giants’ Super Bowl win in 2012, the same year that the last major sports facility was completed, the Barclays Center in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The majority owner of NYCFC United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also owns the Manchester City FC and the club’s minority owner is the New York Yankees.

“Our club has been investing in New York City for over a decade, and we are eager to invest these funds to help build a new community for our First Team, our dedicated fans, and our great city,” said NYCFC vice chairman Marty Edelman.

AN will circle back once further details of the stadium design are released.