After a ‘finish line’ comment on the Queens stadium, M.L.S. says there’s ‘a lot left to do’

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Abbott, standing. (Dana Rubinstein)
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Major League Soccer wants to build a stadium in Queens, and last week, Don Garber, the league's commissioner, said his team was "at the finish line" in his negotiations with the city.

The stadium, planned to be located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has elicited consternation from some community activists, which was exacerbated when Garber's "finish line" were, understandably, read literally by the media

Here's Garber's quote, in full, from the AP:

There's a lot of work that needs to happen to finalize our agreement with New York City over our use of the land and our ability to lease that land to build a stadium. I do believe that we will resolve that shortly. I can't put any timetable on that, but we are at the finish line. Once we are there, we've got to go into a formal approval process that all developers have to go through in New York City. That will take some time. We need to reach an agreement with the city, with the local community and with the state of New York on replacing the land that we will be utilizing for the stadium.

In order for league's stadium plans to materialize, M.L.S. will have to reach an agreement with New York City and New York State regarding, among other things, how it's going to replace the up-to-13 acres of parkland the 25,000-seat stadium would occupy at the site of an old fountain in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. 

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There will also presumably be discussions about stadium financing, parking, tax revenue, and park investment.

According to a recent Crain's article, the league's tentative deal with the city, which Abbott declined to confirm, includes "a 35-year, $1-a-year lease, with no sales taxes on construction materials, no property taxes and no revenue sharing with the city." 

At a Monday night community meeting in Queens, Major League Soccer's president, Mark Abbott, sought to emphasize the parts of Garber's quote having to do with the amount of work that remains.

"What I would say is if you looked at the full quote, what commissioner Garber said is that there's a lot of discussions that we continue to have, so and that's the case as I said here today," said Abbott.

"How could you be at the finish line?" a reporter asked.

"Well, I think you have to read the quote," said Abbott. "So the quote says we have a number of other things that we need to do with the community, with the city, and so I think that speaks for itself, that's what he meant."

"What I would say is, we have a lot left to do," Abbott said.