Several sources have confirmed that demolition of Aqueduct Race Track for a new soccer stadium is not off the table.
It was announced last month that Major League Soccer was looking at Aqueduct as a site for a soccer-specific stadium to host the New York City Football Club, an expansion team that will begin playing next year at Yankee Stadium.
“The discussions leave open the possibility of the racetrack being torn down and the stadium being built on that site,” one high-level source said. “[The New York Racing Association] would make Belmont Racetrack a year-round venue and hold winter racing there.”
The source did say, however, that is not the most likely or desired option, noting that the favored choice is to build the stadium on top of lightly used parking fields owned by the city on the southern end of the Aqueduct site, near the Belt Parkway.
But building a stadium even on the 20 acres of city property currently leased by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would require going over some hurdles.
During a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure in 2004 dealing with PANYNJ property leased from the city in Queens, Community Boards 10 and 12 suggested forcing the plots of land at Aqueduct that includes those lots to go through ULURP in the event they are proposed to be used for anything other than parking.
The ULURP would require public hearings and approval from Borough President Melinda Katz, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
Should something go awry with that option, the track proposal could emerge as a backup plan.
The track itself is on state-owned land, which would require state approval to both demolish the track and build the stadium.