The New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL) announced on Wednesday that they have submitted a privately funded economic development proposal to the State of New York for a state-of-the-art 25,500-seat soccer-specific stadium in the Belmont Park area of Elmont, N.Y., on the border with Queens.
The stadium is likely to cost around $400 million and would stand as the center of a proposed entertainment complex that would also include a park and smaller soccer field, while the Cosmos have included a $2.5 million pledge to develop other community soccer fields in the proposal.
“We plan to develop an iconic project for the region and build a state-of-the-art stadium that will make Nassau County and the entire region proud,” said Seamus O’Brien, chairman and CEO of the Cosmos. “Belmont is an ideal location and a win-win for everyone involved. Nassau County and Elmont will realize much needed economic growth, and local residents will have a year-round premier destination they can call their own.”
The proposal joins Major League Soccer's proposed 25,000-seat stadium in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park area of Queens, a site MLS has identified for a potential 20th expansion team, likely to take the form of a second franchise in the New York market.
“Major League Soccer continues to work with the city of New York and local elected officials on our quest to build a soccer stadium in Queens and are making progress with the project," MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche said in a statement. "We are in discussions with a variety of potential ownership groups, all who are very interested in being involved with the division I soccer league in North America. MLS continues to support the development of the lower leagues.”
It is not immediately certain what effect the Cosmos' proposal will have on any possible MLS ambitions they might have. Preliminary plans for expansion have MLS identifying an ownership group in 2013 and stadium construction starting in 2014, with a team beginning league play in the 2016 season.
In the meantime, the Cosmos will begin play in the second half of the NASL's split 2013 season, their first campaign since being re-formed in 2010.