New York City FC is reportedly inching closer to finding a permanent home after searching for seven years for a stadium location.
The team's owners and a group of local developers are nearing an agreement with New York City that would allow the club to build a privately financed, 25,000-seat stadium in the South Bronx, according to The New York Times.
It is part of a $1 billion project that would replace parking lots and an elevator parts factory with a school, hotel, retail stores and affordable housing units near Yankee Stadium–the team's current home.
New York City's Economic Development Corporation issued a statement to The Times saying the deal has been discussed but a formal agreement has not been reached.
"It's long past time to make the underutilized parking lots around Yankee Stadium into something more," an E.D.C. representative said in a statement Friday. "The city has been approached by a team of affordable housing developers, the Yankees and the N.Y.C. Football Club. A deal has not been reached, and more conversations are needed. We are hopeful for a future where these lots can better serve the community. The first step toward achieving that is engaging the community on their needs and vision for this area."
A spokesperson from New York City FC also acknowledged the stadium talks to The Times, but cautioned that no deal is in place.
"We have been honored to call the Bronx our home for the last five years playing at Yankee Stadium, and we will keep our neighbors and our dedicated fans informed as we participate with Maddd [Equities] and others in any related consultations and the public approval process," the team said.
Approval for the project could take months, and if construction in the Bronx were to start, it would not begin until at least 2022 and could take multiple years, according to The Times. The earliest the team could move into its new home, then, would be 2024, meaning it will have played at Yankee Stadium for at least nine years by the time it can have a stadium to truly call its own.
New York City FC has been playing at Yankee Stadium since its inaugural MLS season in 2015. The Yankees have a 20% stake in the club, which is majority owned by City Football Group. The team has considered multiple locations across the city for its permanent home, and potential plans to previously build in either Manhattan or Queens were met with criticism from residents and fell by the wayside.
Due to scheduling conflicts with the Yankees, the team has had to play at other locations at times around the city or even as far as Connecticut. Last season's home playoff game was staged at the Mets' Citi Field and four regular-season games are slated to be played there in 2020.
On Friday, the club announced its first Concacaf Champions League home game will be held on Feb. 26 at Red Bull Arena–the home of the club's rival New York Red Bulls. It will play San Carlos at the New Jersey site after neither Yankee Stadium nor Citi Field was available due to winterization ahead of the baseball season. Should NYCFC advance, one of the two baseball stadiums would play host to the home leg in the quarterfinals.