On November 13th, 2006, the New York Mets broke ground on a new $780 million stadium, hoping to complete the project by 2009. The new stadium, designed to look like the Brooklyn Dodgers’ old Ebbets Field, will have a planned capacity of 45,000 spectators within the 1.26 million-square-foot facilities.
The ballpark will be located in the East Parking Lot of the current Shea Stadium at the north end of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and will have many services not available at Shea, including an exclusive “Home Plate Club” and separate “Ebbets Club.”
State-of-the-art design features are being used in order to provide a modern and hoped better experience for all; some such amenities include improved sightlines from all seat sections as well as from concourses and sit-down restaurants. The entry rotunda will be commissioned in honor of Jackie Robinson to pay tribute to the legendary Brooklyn Dodger who broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947.
Contrary to earlier reports, the newest plans do not call for a retractable roof and the new stadium will be open air. Shea Stadium will be renamed Citi Field; the financial services company has signed a 20-year deal for more than $20 million per year. Citigroup has the ability to extend the deal for up to 35 years.
Similar to the new Yankees Stadium, the Mets stadium will be funded by tax-exempt and taxable bonds, with a total of approximately $600 million coming from the team and $180 million from public sources. The Mets have also entered a non-relocation agreement, promising to stay in New York City for another 35 years. The project has faced significantly less public opposition than the Yankee Stadium plan, though some are accusing the Mets of conducting too much planning outside of public view.
In order to give back to the community and also to gain support for the bond financing by the City Council, the Mets have pledged to give 25% of their annual charity to Queens groups as well as 25% of construction contracts to local Queens businesses. Another 25% of construction jobs will be given to women and minority-owned businesses. Over the duration of the project approximately 6,000 construction jobs will be created and the 1,000 jobs currently at Shea will be preserved.
As of Opening Day 2008 construction of the new Citi Field is well under way, on schedule and on budget to be fully completed for Opening Day 2009. Shea stadium will then be dismantled to make room for additional parking at the new ballpark. A few iconic and fan favorite features, such as the homerun apple, will make the transition with the team.