Well, a proposed stadium deal in New York has been killed by the State Assembly, meaning the City's bid for the 2012 Olympics are very likely dead.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno instructed their representatives on the three-member Public Authorities Control Board to abstain on a vote to contribute $300 million in state funds for the stadium. Since the proposal required unanimous approval, it was defeated.
Silver, who represents lower Manhattan, said he could not support the $2 billion stadium, to be built as an extension of the Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan, when the city and state have not completed plans to renovate the World Trade Center site in his district.
"Am I supposed to sell out the community I have fought for ... ?" Silver said. "Am I supposed to turn my back on lower Manhattan as it struggles for recovery? For what? The stadium? For the hope of bringing the Olympics to New York City?"
Brian Hatch, the former deputy mayor of Salt Lake City who tracks the New York bid at www.newyorkgames.org, said the stadium vote "was the right result for the right reason."
"When I started (the Web site) two years ago, I said the bid was going to create a new central business district and cripple the one that hadn't recovered (from 9/11)," Hatch said. "This is a clear victory for the city's interests."
Hatch supports New York hosting the Olympics but said the West Side stadium plan "was driving down our chances. Now maybe we'll recover and hope for 2016."
The covered stadium was to have been built on a 30-acre site atop a rail yard owned by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. But if the land could be freed for other purposes, the question was why the stadium was the best use. Cablevision Systems, owner of Madison Square Garden, which stood to lose some business to the new building, had proposed late in the process, a plan to build housing and offices on the site. But for most of the time when the use of the rail yards was being discussed, the assumption was there would be a stadium or nothing. Many argued the stadium, which would have been the most costly to build in the U.S. by far, was worse than nothing as it would tie up one of the last two large tracts of land in southern Manhattan.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had sold the stadium proposal as an economic development plan because it would double as a convention center and supposedly draw new construction in its wake. Yesterday, he lashed out against the stadium's critics: "Those that were on the other side will have to explain why they were against jobs, why they were against economic opportunity and growth," he said at a press conference.
What's never explained is why New York needs the city to build on the site. In recent years, developers have grabbed every available site to build. If the rail yards were made available for other uses, developers would build there, too. Not a stadium, but someone would build something. Time Warner has built a huge mixed-use building near Central Park. Mayor Bloomberg's own company has completed a new headquarters, also a mixed-use building on the east side of Manhattan, which is intended to accommodate a Home Depot store. Every conceivable inch of Times Square is being built, with The Walt Disney Company, Conde Nast, Morgan Stanley and a host of law and accounting firms all taking space.
As is usually the case, the Chron article notes a possible Houston angle in this development:
NFL owners awarded the 2010 Super Bowl to New York, contingent on the stadium's construction. League officials did not return calls for comment on whether the game could be offered to other bidders, including Houston, which fell short in its bid for the 2009 game.