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New York Yankees Building New Stadium

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Images Courtesy New York Yankees

The Mets aren’t the only New York baseball team planning a new stadium. After more than 80 years at Yankee Stadium, otherwise known as “the House That Ruth Built,” the New York Yankees announced yesterday that they are moving to a new home just to the north.

Designed by Kansas City-based HOK Sport+Venue+Event, the new Yankee Stadium, still in The Bronx, will be loosely modeled on the original version. The exterior will feature a close approximation of the stadium’s original frieze, with limestone walls and arched fenestration. Much of the original façade was removed when the team renovated the stadium in 1973. A large, open-air concourse will sit between the façade and the stadium bowl. Inside, the field will maintain the same dimensions, including the stadium’s shallow right field, and will also keep “Monument Park,” just beyond center field, which contains tributes to some of the team’s most famous players. But, team officials point out, the new stadium will feature more modern amenities, like more luxury boxes (58 of them), a gigantic television screen (about 400 feet wide), wider concourses, and far more concessions. Seats will also be about 20 feet closer to the field, points out HOK Sport+Venue+Event principal Earl Santee. His firm has now built all but a handful of the country’s new baseball stadiums in the last ten years, including Camden Yards in Baltimore, which helped spur the “retro” stadium trend.

“This building is becoming nonfunctional,” pointed out Yankees president Randy Levine, of the original Yankee Stadium, built in 1923. “It can’t go on for another forty years.” Santee added that the Yankees explored the option of renovating the existing stadium, but found the option cost-prohibitive and hugely inconvenient given the team would have nowhere to play during the rehab.

The new 50,000 to 54,000-seat stadium is planned to open in 2009. The cost is estimated at $800 million, which the Yankees will pay for. The team will also pay for upkeep of the stadium, a cost that was paid for by the government at the original stadium. The state plans to chip in $70 million for two new parking garages, while the city plans to pay $135 million for new park and sports facilities in the area, including a track, a park, and a baseball field where the original Yankee Stadium once stood. The plan, pointed out Mayor Bloomberg, is part of an almost $400 million transformation of the South Bronx, which includes a proposed hotel and convention center, new and rehabilitated parks, and a new fish market to replace the Fulton Fish market in Lower Manhattan.

Unlike the proposed Jets Stadium on the Far West Side, the Yankees’ new stadium, like the Mets’ new park (also designed by HOK Sport+Venue+Event), appears to face few political obstacles. The biggest opponents, it appears, are fans who don’t want the team to leave its beloved home.

Sam Lubell

 

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