By RYAN TOLMICH
More than two years after the club’s initial proposal, the New York Cosmos know their stadium desires remain in limbo, but are hoping to have a resolution of some kind sooner rather than later.
The Cosmos have long been waiting on approval of the club’s proposed $400 million, 25,000-seat stadium at Belmont Park since initially submitting plans in January 2013, but the proposal has remained locked in governmental discussions ever since.
Having heard little from Empire State Development Corporation, New York’s primary business-aid agency, Cosmos chief operating officer Erik Stover firmly believes that some sort of decision is expected to come in the near future.
While the club remains positive over the Belmont site, which Stover calls ideal, the COO admits that it would be remiss of the Cosmos to not prepare for the worst should the proposal end up failing.
“There are plan B’s but nothing that we would lock in on and say, ‘This is our first choice,'” Stover told SBI. “Everything is still in its infancy, and it’s not worth discussing because we’re not far enough along, but there are a lot of irons in the fire. As an organization, we haven’t narrowed those four or five things to one or two leaders, but, having said that, Belmont is clearly the best choice.
“We want to develop a stadium in the New York Metropolitan area. That’s the best location, and we made that decision early on. We still stand by that. If we can get an answer from the Empire State Development Corporation soon, then we’re going full speed ahead, but we have to do our due diligence. We have to be prepared should we not win the bid, but to be who we are capable of being, we need to be in our our own stadium.”
That stadium wait, nearly two years, has been a taxing one that has been full of challenges. Overall, Stover and the Cosmos are just awaiting answers so the club can proceed with a plan, whichever it may be.
“Two years is way too long for a business to be waiting for a decision like this,” Stover said. “I think anybody that’s ever run a business or been part of one can fully understand that challenges we face with that. I think that developers as well feel the same way. We all would like an answer, whatever that might be, so we can move on, whether it’s building a stadium or finding another location.
“I do think there will be a decision of some kind in the near future. What that means, I don’t know. You’ve certainly heard that from me before. I’m kind of running out of ways to say ‘I don’t know’, but I do think that, what we hear on the ground, is that something is coming soon and hopefully it’s in the affirmative for us.”