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West Side Stadium is more than sports venue, Doctoroff says.

Responding to concerns about the economic viability of the proposed West Side Stadium, Daniel Doctoroff, the New York Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, insisted that the facility will be much more than just a sports arena. Even the name--West Side Stadium--is misleading, as the development will be officially known as the New York Sports and Convention Center.

In the past few weeks, opponents of the Hudson Yards redevelopment project have questioned the city government's claims that it will spur economic activity in that part of Manhattan and bring in millions of dollars in tax revenues. They claim that the stadium will bring in visitors only a few times a year, leaving the area as deserted as it has ever been the rest of the time. Additional concerns about traffic congestion on game days have also been raised, as well as outcries about the wisdom of investing in a costly entertainment venue when the city lacks funding for schools.

Speaking at the Real Estate Board of New York's meeting on November 18, Doctoroff compared the Hudson Yards project to the city's redevelopment of the Grand Central Terminal a century ago. According to the Deputy Mayor, the government's decision to build something on top of the railroad tracks that covered much of midtown in the early 1900's resulted in the creation of the greatest business district in the world. He feels that the Hudson Yards present New York with a similar opportunity today.

"The West Side is completely dominated by rail yards. Surrounding those rail yards is nothing," he said. "This area is one of the least productive in New York City. Total revenue income from the Hudson Yards went down 7% in the 1990's, during one of the greatest economic booms the city has experienced."

In Doctoroff's view, the West Side would be the perfect place for the construction of additional midtown office space, the expansion of New York's over-taxed convention center and the creation of several hotels that would house visitors to the city.

"In order for New York City to maintain its share of office space, we will need to add 68 million s/f of it over the next 30 years," he said. "The only place we can fill this gap is in the Hudson Yards. The city and state developed a six-point plan to develop this area, but we will need to invest [in the project]."

According to Doctoroff, the plan includes re-zoning of the area to include office and residential uses, the extension of the #7 subway line to improve transportation, the expansion of the Jacob Javitz Convention Center and the building of the sports center that will double as a convention and entertainment facility.

"The New York Sports and Convention Center will be able to be used every day of the year--it will have five restaurants, a museum, a theater and 30,000 s/f of retail," Doctoroff said. "This building will play a critical role in big event offering. It will be used in the stadium configuration only 17 days of the year."

In fact, Doctoroff's office has estimated that the sports center will bring in $55 million in taxes in its first year and $900 million over a 30-year period, easily offsetting the $4.5 billion investment the city would have to make to build it.

The Deputy Mayor also denied claims that New York can postpone the construction of the center until the International Olympic Committee picks the host for the 2012 Games because that is what other cities are doing. Other finalists, including Paris, Madrid and Moscow, already have Olympic stadiums in place, he said, making comparisons to New York irrelevant.
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Title Annotation:Daniel Doctoroff New York Deputy Mayor for Economic Development
Author:Misonzhnik, Elaine
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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