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NYCFC officials and supporters gathered outside City Hall as the authorization clears the way to break ground on New York City's first-ever soccer stadium.

A rendering of New York City FC's stadium at Willets Point | Courtesy

The New York City FC soccer stadium saga has completed its long journey through New York City's land approval process, with the City Council voting overwhelmingly to approve the stadium and all of "Phase Two" of the redevelopment of Willets Point, Queens.

The City Council's vote of approval is officially the next-to-last step in the city's byzantine Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). But the stadium is essentially a go.

Celebration scheduled for today

There are no more votes to be held, no more city agencies or entities left to weigh in on the project, save for one: New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

The mayor now gets a five-day window to review and possibly veto the City Council's ULURP decision, but a veto looks highly improbable.

That's because NYCFC, plus their partners Related Companies and Sterling Equities, scheduled an event at 2:45 pm ET today outside City Hall. They will appear alongside elected officials, including Mayor Adams, following the full City Council’s vote of approval.

New York City FC fans were also invited to attend, meaning a celebration is expected, as construction of the city’s first-ever soccer stadium gets handed a final seal of approval.

Before this full City Council vote, two City Council subcommittees unanimously approved Willets Point Phase Two. The City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises voted 6-0 in favor, while the Council’s Land Use Committee voted 10-0 in favor of approving the stadium project.

A rendering of New York City FC's stadium at Willets Point | Courtesy

Key support from Francisco Moya

The successful navigation of these City Council steps of the ULURP process can be traced back to City Councilman Francisco Moya’s constant, vocal support of the stadium and the entire Willets Point redevelopment. While addressing the Land Use Committee prior to its vote, Moya said “NYCFC, like me, never stopped believing Queens could be their home."

Moya has pushed for a soccer stadium to be built in Willets Point for over a decade. Tracing as far back as 2012, when MLS was trying to add a "NY2" franchise with a stadium built on land inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

A rendering of New York City FC's stadium at Willets Point | Courtesy

That did not pan out, thanks to strong local opposition to building on existing parkland, as detailed here at Hudson River Blue by site founder Raf Noboa y Rivera back in June 2013.

Fourteen years after MLS plans fell apart in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a permanent home for soccer will now finally open in Queens in 2027, and will rise alongside 1,400 new units of affordable housing, a 250-room hotel, and 2.8 acres of public open space.

The Willets Phase Two development has been crawling through the city's official review process since October 16, but the support of both Mayor Adams and Councilman Moya has likely smoothed the gears of bureaucracy, despite at least a few bumps.

The Mayor has openly supported the soccer stadium-plus-housing project since it was announced in November 2022, and that advocacy has even included reportedly playing mediator in talks with New York Mets owner and occasional NYCFC landlord and antagonist, billionaire Steve Cohen.

Parking agreement with Citi Field resolved

As you may remember from it being discussed during every phase of the stadium's approval process, there were protracted, unresolved negotiations between NYCFC and the Mets over soccer attendees using the parking lots around Citi Field on matchdays. 

Chris Campbell of The Outfield reports a final parking deal has finally been signed, resolving an issue that lingered throughout the stadium's public approval proceedings, yet has long been framed by project stakeholders as a near-certainty to be resolved. NYCFC CEO Brad Sims, when asked about the Mets negotiations, told Hudson River Blue in March that “we continue to make progress on that, not quite there yet, but hopefully very soon it will be done.” 

In a move that may very well be related to NYCFC finally reaching parking peace with the Mets, Councilman Moya on March 28 publicly spoke out in support of Mets owner Steve Cohen's plans to redevelop those Citi Field parking lots as "Metropolitan Park," an entertainment destination with a new casino included.

With all the needed ULURP votes of approval now in hand—from the local Community Board, from the Queens Borough President, from the City Planning Commission, and now from the City Council—New York City's first soccer stadium looks set for its historic groundbreaking ceremony.

It's been a decade-plus-long process full of twists, turns, and setbacks, but New York City FC's stadium is finally set to make the leap from a hypothetical dream to a shovels-in-the-ground reality.