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Job boom looms as stadium work piles up.

The recent announcements of both the Yankees and the Mets' intentions to build multimillion-dollar stadiums has the construction industry bracing itself to supply the thousands of man hours necessary to build three to four new ballparks at once.

The already strained labor force will have to supply about 3,600 workers per project to build the $800 million Yankees ballpark, the $600 million Mets ballpark, Bruce Ratner's $2.5 billion Nets stadium and mixed-use project in Brooklyn and, possibly, the $2.2 billion Jets New York Sports and Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan.

"It's an amazing turn of events," said Lou Colletti, president of the Building Trade Employers' Association. "We may have a new stadium in each borough."

Three of the stadiums are slated to begin construction next summer, said Coletti.

"We don't yet know the specifics of the schedules and that will be crucial. We have a broad idea though," he said. "And we haven't given up on the Jets. I think they are still evaluating their options. I hope they continue to move forward."

The BTEA foresaw the need for more skilled labor, as well as project managers, and began Construction Skills 2000 several years ago.

Construction Skills 2000, in partnership with the Port Authority of NY & NJ, the NYC Department of Education, and the NYC School Construction Authority, has helped hundreds of young people of diverse backgrounds find their niche' in the building trades.

The BTEA also conducted a groundbreaking analysis of the professional, managerial and administrative construction employment market in the New York region, which found that the city was unprepared to meet the anticipated demand for qualified workers and called for the creation of new workforce training and recruitment initiatives.

"I think in the past, the reason construction jobs were viewed less than desirable is because of the volatility of the industry. It was very cyclical," Coletti explained. "I think looking out five to ten years, a steady flow of projects will create more career opportunities." The Yankees made its announcement this week and will require at least 3,600 workers to build the ballpark, developed by Tishman Speyer Properties and designed by HOK Sport + Venue + Event.

The new stadium will have between 50,800 and 54,000 seats.

While maintaining the integrity of both the existing and original stadium designs, the new stadium will provide improved sight lines and will feature first-class concourses, concession stands and other modern stadium amenities.

At the same time, the city will also rehabilitate of the Bronx Terminal Market next door.

The Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market is a new $394 million, one million-square-foot project on a 16.8-acre site east of the Major Deegan Expressway, just south of Yankee Stadium.

It will include a retail center, a waterfront park and esplanade, and possibly a hotel and banquet facility.

The retail project, which is replacing a site that has been deteriorating for more than 30 years, is expected to create more than 5,000 construction and permanent jobs.

"Not only will New York get a new Yankee Stadium, but our City will get over 3,600 construction jobs, a new waterfront park, as well as many other traffic, streetscape and infrastructure improvements," said Governor George Pataki.

"This is a smart investment in the future of the Bronx that will yield hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in the coming years."

The Yankees have reached an agreement to build the new stadium on portions of Macombs Dam and John Mullaly parks adjacent to the current Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

While the interior of the new stadium will contain state-of-the art facilities for players and fans, the design will evoke and incorporate the traditional elements of both the 1923 and the existing stadium, including the original frieze, so beloved by Yankees fans.

There will be no public subsidy provided to build or finance the new stadium.

The Yankees will completely finance the $800 million of construction costs and will also be responsible for operating and maintaining the new stadium.

New York State will contribute funds to expand parking facilities for the new stadium by approximately 4,000 spaces.

The State will receive all parking revenues, which will more than offset the expenditures necessary to build the additional parking facilities.
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Title Annotation:Yankees and the Mets' to build four new ballparks
Author:Nelson, Barbara
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Words:714
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