The New York Yankees demanded a raft of parking spots in ramps surrounding the new Yankee Stadium, but given the great public-transportation options to the ballpark, game-day usage never exceeded 60 percent — and the company running the ramps is on the verge of default on the bonds used to build them.
In retrospect, demanding that 6,000 parking spots in The Bronx be built on scarce parkland may not have been the brightest move, but it fits in with the attitudes taken by some in the front office about the new clientele a new Yankee Stadium would attract: a more affluent and corporate crowd who would happily pay more for seats and concessions — the kind that would drive in and eschew the crowds taking advantage of mass transportation.
But guess what? Most of those old fans stubbornly hung on, albeit in worse seats, leaving many really expensive seats unused, especially when the ballpark first opened in April 2009. And that affuent clientele — the kind likely to take advantage of 6,000 parking spots next to the ballpark — didn’t show up, at least not in their own cars. (Indeed, fans became pretty adept at finding free parking in the area, as compared to $23 a game for self-serve ramp space — a rate that’s jumping up to $35 this season.)
Or not enough of them, anyway, for Bronx Parking Development Co. (the firm managing the parking ramps), to continue payments on the bonds issued to build them, apparently. A $6.8 million interest payment is due April 1, and word is that the firm doesn’t have the funds to comply. So, unless terms are renegotiated or the firm comes into some cash, the bondholders may have grounds to call the notes and seize the 21 acres of parking ramps.
If that happens, look for Bronx officials to push for some of those ramps to be torn down, since supply clearly exceeds demand. One option being floated: using some of that land for a hotel, which was a goal of community activists once it was apparently the parkland would be lost to the ballpark development.
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