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Columbia proposal could finally end New York City FC's stadium saga

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New York City may share it with Columbia University, according to a report this afternoon.

Baker Athletic Complex
Baker Athletic Complex

New York City FC may finally have found a home of its own.

According to the New York Times' Andrew Das and Charles Bagli, the team's giving strong consideration to Columbia University as the location for its stadium. The plan would involve replacing Columbia's current stadium — 17,000-seat Wien Stadium — and replacing it with a 25,000-seat stadium that would be home to both New York City and the Columbia Lions. The new stadium would be located at the 23-acre Baker Athletics Complex, located between Broadway, Spuyten Duyvil Creek, and the Inwood neighborhood.

That area is chock-full of of athletics facilities, ranging from soccer and lacrosse fields to tennis and boating centers. The area also hosts athletics offices for the university, as well as a gymnasium. The stadium itself would cost around $400 million; the team would also spend around an additional $30 million to revamp the accompanying fields for the university.

Baker Complex

Could this be New York City FC's new home?

There are some issues with placing the stadium there. Though the area is served by both the A and 1 trains, as well as Metro North — all of which are about a 10-minute walk away — there's next to no parking in the area. What little parking exists is either taken up by Inwood residents or by the MTA's bus yards. Given Columbia's woes on the gridiron, it's not like the stadium is packed out most games.

That changes with a presumably successful New York City FC. That quiet Inwood neighborhood would cease to be quiet; presumably, the current residents wouldn't be jumping for joy at having a professional stadium placed there. It's certain that there would be some degree of opposition to placing the stadium there. The question then becomes how New York City FC and Columbia can accomodate opponents of a stadium plan in order to be able to build it.

Any proposed stadium there would be multi-function; likely designed with soccer first and foremost, but able to accomodate multiple teams. That's fairly common in MLS. Frankly, it's the best option in order to gain broad support from as many stakeholders. The Portland Timbers share a stadium with Portland State; Houston Dynamo, with Texas Southern; FC Dallas' Toyota Park hosts high school football games. The most famous sharing arrangement belongs to the Seattle Sounders, who share Century Link with the Seahawks.

As it stands, any current discussions are highly preliminary. Nothing has been commited to, on either side. But this is the clearest sign yet that New York City might just have a field of their own.