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Newsday (New York)
New York City FC, the professional soccer team that plays at Yankee Stadium and is partly owned by the Yankees, is preparing to submit a proposal to develop a soccer stadium at Belmont Park racetrack, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The potential bid would put the team in competition with the Islanders' plans to develop their own new hockey arena.
The deadline to answer the state's request for proposals at Belmont is 2 p.m. Thursday. A decision on a winning proposal isn't expected to come from Empire State Development, the state's primary business development agency, for months.
NYCFC has played the majority of its Major League Soccer home games at Yankee Stadium since it started play two years ago while searching for a New York City site on which to construct its own stadium.
Belmont is not NYCFC's preferred choice for an arena location, the source said. The soccer club is looking at a handful of other spots within the city limits that it prefers over Belmont, which is state-run property in Elmont, just outside the Queens border.
But with a need for an arena and an open request for proposals specifically seeking sports and entertainment options, the person said it was still worth submitting a proposal. The person declined to identify the New York City locations.
The person, who is not authorized to publicly discuss the proposal and spoke on condition of anonymity, said NYCFC is partnering with developer Related Co. on its submission. A NYCFC spokesman declined to comment. Related did not return messages seeking comment.
An executive from Related Co. was among the dozens who attended the ESD-run tour of the Belmont facility last month.
The Islanders are expected to submit a bid to develop a new arena in conjunction with Sterling Project Development, which is controlled by the Wilpon family, who own the Mets, and Oak View Group, a Madison Square Garden-backed sports arena development and investment company.
The Islanders, who are about to enter their third season playing home games at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, are engaged in negotiations over modifying their 25-year license agreement. Oak View Group is advising the Islanders on those talks.
The Belmont RFP calls for plans that include retail, entertainment, sports and hospitality options on the 43-acre vacant land surrounding the horse track.
Last year, ESD scrapped proposals to develop at Belmont following a long-delayed four-year process. Among those proposals was a 25,000-seat soccer stadium for the New York Cosmos. They now play their home games at Brooklyn's MCU Park. Related also was one of the bidders then.
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