Stadium lot owners to default on bonds

ST Game Thread: Banuelos goes national
Shifting against Adrian
Too many parking lots surround Yankee Stadium.

The conundrum over the Yankee Stadium parking lots is one I’ve focused on frequently over the past few months. The corporation awarded the rights to run the lots has been struggling financially since early September, and despite looming rate hikes, the Bronx Parking Development Co. is about to default on its bonds.

As Crains New York’s Hilary Potkewitz reported yesterday, the company is in dire straits, and the neighbors aren’t happy. Many in the South Bronx had protested the parking lots surrounding the most transit-accessible stadium in the majors, and residents now aren’t happy. Potkewitz reports:

Bronx Parking Development Co., which runs the garages for the new stadium, faces an April 1 due date for a $6.8 million interest payment on bonds issued to fund construction of three facilities. The company had to dip into reserves to make a similar payment in October, and—barring a last-minute renegotiation—all signs point to a default this time.

A default could set up a seizure by bondholders and would leave the garages’ future in question. The property, which covers some 21 acres, was part of parkland taken over to make way for the current incarnation of Yankee Stadium.

The potential irony has some in the community seething. “Our community loves its parks, and we could always use more,” said Pastor Wenzell Jackson, chairman of Bronx Community Board 4, which includes the stadium and the surrounding area. “Now there’s just empty parking garages that are not benefiting the community.”

With that news in mind, there are of course many questions surrounding the lots. Chief among them is the why of it. Why are Bronx parking lots so empty? According to those who run the Bronx Parking Development Company, the answer is a mixture of supply and demand. The company claims that the lots were, at most, 60 percent full during game days, but those running it also claim that the Gateway Shopping Center has been siphoning off cars for far less.

To park in the stadium lots costs well over $20 a game while Gateway charges under $5. Officials claim that 800 cars per game are taking advantage of the price discrepancy, and thus, the company is raising rates to $35-$45 per car in 2011.

Furthermore, the Metro-North stop has been a hit as well. Bronx Parking executives claim that they are losing money as nearly 4000 fans per game take commuter rail to the stadium instead of their cars. From an urban policy perspective, I believe Metro-North provides a better route to the game than a car does.

So what’s next then? Ruben Diaz, Jr. wants to create artificial demand for the parking lots by building a hotel in the South Bronx. “We’ve been working diligently to bring a top-flight hotel to the area near Yankee Stadium,” the Bronx Borough President said in February. “As many of you have heard, the Yankee Stadium parking lots are facing severe financial problems, and we believe one of the garages could be used for the hotel development.”

Still, others would prefer to see the city cut bait on the parking lots entirely. “The first step should be to reconsider how they’re using these parking lots,” Lourdes Zapata, an official with the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., said to Crains. “Looking at them exclusively for parking is a shortsighted way of looking at development in this area.”

Of course, New York City’s approach to development around Yankee Stadium has always been shortsighted. The city treated the ballpark as though it were in the suburbs and not amidst three subway lines, a ferry and commuter rail with little need for parking. Now, we’ll all pay the price in reduced public space and much higher parking rates. The lots should go, but for now, the prices will just continue to spike ever upward as fewer drive to the stadium.

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ST Game Thread: Banuelos goes national
Shifting against Adrian
  • Plank

    It’s a weird dichotomy being a Yankees fan but also hating their corporate practices. I know the Yankees were only tangentially involved in this specific deal, but this deal wouldn’t have gone down if the Yankees didn’t schmooze (bribe) the city council to give them money and land for the new stadium.

  • Ryan

    Build an open-air parks on the highest levels of each parking lots!

  • mbonzo

    I thought $20 was a lot. I don’t understand how they can be in bad finances when they charge so much and are basically always at full capacity. Maybe they should charge those kids that sell candy a soliciting fee.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      The problem is that they’re not always full or near capacity. The regular season average is around 60 percent full. That’s far from where they need to be to break even, let alone turn a profit.

      Simply put, there’s too much parking around Yankee Stadium.

      • mbonzo

        Last time I parked there was 2009 I think. Was always at full capacity, I’m really surprised that they only have a 60% capacity rate. I stopped parking there because it was impossible to leave after the game. Don’t know if they modified it at all, but I’d park there again if it was $20-$25 and it didn’t take an hour and a half to leave.

  • Noseeum

    “we’re only 60% full so we need to charge more.”

    “the parking lot nearby only charges $5, so we have no choice but to raise our prices.”

    Um, that’s not what any supply/demand curve I’ve ever seen looks like.

    • Ryan

      yeah but when the $5 parking lot can only hold 800 cars, raising prices for the other ~3200 cars would make up some of the lost money

      • http://www.retire21.org first name only male (formerly Mike R. – Retire 21)

        Raising prices will likely result in a drastic reduction to the number of people driving to games.

    • Pete C.

      It may not be one we’ve ever seen before, but something tells me we’re going to be seeing it a lot more in the future, and not just over parking at the stadium. actually they kind of sound like a cable company I’ve dealt with.

    • the Other Steve S.

      You Sir, are exactly right, but I’d bet the genius that made that decision is making more money than you or me and probably is a graduate of the Wharton School.

    • A.D.

      Depends on what they feel the flexibility in their current customers are. If the alternative parking is at capacity and the belief is the people driving in can’t/won’t take mass transit then it can work. So essentially if they have a monopoly on their 60% capacity then it can work

      Additionally if they can’t come close to breaking even by charging 5-10 and being 100% full then not a strategy that’s likely worth it to them.

  • Ryan

    I haven’t driven to the new stadium and I probably never will. Even before the new metro-north stop it was still much easier to take the train to harlem 125 and get the subway than to drive in get stuck in traffic and then pay $25 or more to park. now that you can get off directly at the stadium essentially why would anyone (who could take the train) ever drive?

    Plus, and this is the biggest plus in my book, you can get hammered on the train beforehand, which would not be so good to do on a drive in to the stadium

    • http://www.twitter.com/tylerwilkinson T-Dubs

      This, this. All of this.

  • http://twitter.com/bleachertweeter Big Joe

    Do these retards not realize that more and more people are turning to mass transit because the damn parking rates are so high? I use to love to drive to the game, it saved me alot of time and I didn’t have to sit next to weirdo’s on the subway. Now that the price of parking has gone up so much I have been taking mass transit for the past 3-4 years. I sit in the bleachers and the price of parking has been more then the price of a ticket for the actual game for a few years now, but with the price going up this year parking is going to be three or four times the price of my ticket… Why would I ever use their parking system????

  • JimmieFoxx

    Yeah if these lots are going to charge in the $30-$40 range, that will certainly price me out of all but 1 game per season :-(

  • dennyneagleshooker

    i dont mind paying $40 bucks to park. the thing is, there better be easy on/off access to the highway & the lot better be pre-gaming friendly. an outhouse would be nice to go with poor people collecting cans.

  • Babe’s Ghost

    Um… who gives a shit if these retards default?

    How is it in any way shape or form a bad thing if more people take Metro-North? Apart from the Saudi’s, Al Qaida and the Koch brothers, who really wants to encourage further dependence on foreign oil? Apart from sleazy lawyers, who really wants more drunk drivers on the road?

    Personally, I don’t think a luxury hotel would fly there. Even if the immediate area were locked down tight and redeveloped for yuppie tastes, there’s enough sketchy stuff in between the stadium and downtown that I don’t think it would be a wise choice for tourists.

    Still, it would be pretty amazing to be able to see down into the stadium from your window.

    • mbonzo

      The surrounding area of Yankee stadium is pretty nice, and I don’t think anybodies gonna be walking from 161st to Battery Park. I love the luxury hotel idea.

      You have to figure that the city might have a problem with the hotel though. I don’t believe that the Yankees have the right to build anything they want on the city’s land, so I’m sure they’d have to work out some sort of cut with NYC.

    • Rich

      Agreed.

      A luxury hotel? Really? Because so many people are jumping at the chance to pay 1,000$ to sit on the field level they figured they’d pay +400$ a night to stay in the Bronx?

      Who would stay there? Maybe the visiting team, if they’re not worried about their safety.

  • RollingWave

    To park in the stadium lots costs well over $20 a game while Gateway charges under $5. Officials claim that 800 cars per game are taking advantage of the price discrepancy, and thus, the company is raising rates to $35-$45 per car in 2011.

    I see they’re run by the same people that takes financial advise from Lenny Dykstra

  • pollo

    I park near the Rucka and walk across the bridge. Fuck those assholes.

  • V

    I don’t want another NY luxury hotel. I want a REGULAR hotel, lol. If you want to stay at a hotel in NY for less than $200, you’re going to have to resort to hellholes like the Hotel Pennsylvania.

  • jb

    Fieldturf the top floors of the garage(s) thereby creating more recreational space/opportunity.

  • Januz

    People will always find something to complain about. In this case, the empty lots are a GOOD thing, because more people are taking Metro North than was expected, which has led to a decline in the use of the parking lots. If however, the lots would be filled up, the train station would be considered a “luxury”, and the money would have been better spent in other areas. Damned whichever way you go.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Having empty parking lots in the South Bronx is definitely not a good thing. The point isn’t that more people should be driving; of course, I think they should take the train. Rather, the point is that the city shouldn’t have constructed an absurd amount of parking lots around Yankee Stadium.

  • Tony S

    I need to start using these parking lots. I paid $35 for parking at a nearby lot

  • Tony S

    Where is the gateway parking lot?

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Just up River Ave at 150th.There is some decent eats around there too.

  • Brian in NH

    I can’t even believe people would be driving to the games. When i go to games at Fenway i can take a train from Dover, NH to North Station (TD Garden) and then take T-lines to get to near Fenway. The closest station is about a 15-20 minute walk at most. I live about 70 miles from Fenway. It costs less and is easier to take trains than drive.

  • Jon L

    Has anyone actually paid to park at the gateway shopping center on a game day? I always park in the 151st street north lot which is right across the street from the mall and I thought last year it was pretty comparable to the Yankee parking.

    • pat

      Price wise I think it’s a bit cheaper, but for me one of the biggest benefits is that it stays open longer than an hour after the game. If you park at the mall you don’t have to worry about your car getting locked in the lot if you and your friends want to go have a drink or grab some food after the game.

  • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

    I park down Jerome at 170th and pay $10. It’s a bit of a walk, but it’s closer to 95. I can’t imagine many are like me, but at these prices they will be.

    I couldn’t be happier that these garages are a huge failure. The hotel would be too. But at least with that there would be a few hundred jobs. I’m surprised this idea wasn’t in the original plans.

    • rayg

      James:
      How do you like your $ 10.00 lot?
      How early do you need to get to the stadium to get a spot?
      How is after a game?
      How long is the walk to the stadium from the lot?
      Thanks
      Ray

  • Chris

    I have not driven to the stadium since the metro north stop was put in. And now with a 35+ dollar price tag…its likely I will never again.

  • karl

    Gateway does not charge $5, I think they were $15 for most of last year and $20 for the playoffs, I might be wrong, but I’v parked there and it’s definitley not $5.

  • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I’m trying to find a nice way to say this,

    Who would stay in a hotel in the South Bronx?

    • bonestock94

      Haha, sounds like another fail in progress.

  • A.D.

    With the difficulty of the Major Deegan and traffic flow around the stadium can’t blame people for not driving, even some folks I know who don’t have easy train access from NJ will drive to the Path and take that + the subway (or drive into NYC and just subway) in to avoid post game traffic around the stadium

  • Jon L

    Living up in Bergen County, the only way to get to the city is by car. If I took the train I would have to go down to Secaucus, transfer to Penn Station, and then take the subway back up to the Bronx. On the other hand without traffic I can get from driveway to parking lot in 30 minutes.

  • bonestock94

    Luxury hotel…in the south bronx, lol.

  • kmarx

    To park in the stadium lots costs well over $20 a game while Gateway charges under $5. Officials claim that 800 cars per game are taking advantage of the price discrepancy, and thus, the company is raising rates to $35-$45 per car in 2011.

    I believe that’s how I lost at Sim City.

  • Evan3457

    I drive to every game I go to.

    Where I live in Sheepshead Bay/Gerritsen Beach, I have to take a bus to the subway, and the subway ride is very long. Most nights, it takes less time to drive than to go by bus and subway (usually about 15-30 minutes less), I don’t have to worry about the crowded trains and having to stand going up or back, and I get home a lot faster when the game ends most nights. Even if I get stuck in the lot getting out, it still saves me at least 1/2 hour going home.

    However, if the “regular” lots are going to raise their rates by $15-20, then so will other lots, and instead of going by subway to save roughly $30…I’ll stop going at all. Again. .

  • rayg

    How about lowering prices in the new lots to $ 15.00 per car. Maybe they can get back up to 80% – 90% capacity on game days with lower pricing. Another idea would be for the Yankees to offer prepaid parking to all of their plan holders at a reasonable $ 15.00 per game, so we can avoid waiting on line and dealing with those parking ticket machines. The ticket machine concept works well in a shopping mall but does not work efficiently when your looking to empty parking lots after a game. Frankly i’m surprised to hear that these lots are 40% vacant, with the amount of time it’s taking to get out of these lots after games.