It’s official. New York City FC has thrown its hat into the Belmont Park ring.
Newsday reported Thursday that the Major League Soccer club has submitted a bid for a 26,000-seat soccer-specific stadium at the racetrack.
The New York Islanders hockey team, which calls the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. home, also put in a bid, one of at least three proposals handed in, according to the newspaper.
Thursday was the deadline to submit bids to Empire State Development.
NYCFC, which has called Yankee Stadium home since joining MLS as an expansion team in 2015, put in a bid that includes a recreational area for fans outside the stadium, Newsday said. A retail component also is being proposed by Related Cos., a Manhattan-based developer, the paper said.
The soccer club has expressed interest in three other locations, the Harlem River Yards in the South Bronx and a spot near the stadium and in Flushing, according to Newsday.
City became the second soccer team to bid Belmont as the Cosmos (North American Soccer League) placed a proposal in January 2013 before the ESDC and waited for three years before the agency asked them and other bidders to resubmit their proposals.
Most of the Belmont property is located in Elmont, N.Y., which is located on Long Island and not the city, which conflicts with the club’s name.
ESD isn’t expected to make a decision for several months.
NYCFC has looked for a stadium for years because a baseball park is not conducive for a proper soccer and fan atmosphere.
For example, NYCFC Saturday was forced to play a home game at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in Hartford, Conn. because the Yankees need the baseball park for a make-up baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday. The Yankees said they need 72 hours to convert a soccer pitch into a baseball field.
In January 2013, the Cosmos proposed to finance and build a $400-million, 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium. Besides the privately funded stadium, the Cosmos’ Elmont Town Crossings” project also included a 60,000-square foot area that would feature nine restaurants, some 250,000-square feet of retail space, that 175-room hotel, a community center, a 4.3-acre public park and soccer fields for the community.