Yankee Stadium Garages Make for Slim Profit

Apparently, building a garage costs a lot of money these days, and it is hard to make it back if you are only open 81 times a year.

The city’s Industrial Development Agency is hoping, though, that the future operator of the proposed Yankee Stadium garages will be able to make enough money from shoppers and commuters on non-game days to break even.

This is how the math works:

If all the new parking slots (9,179 total) are filled every game day (81 times a year), the operator will bring in $18.59 million annually from Yankees-related revenue. But the $225 million in bonds, if paid back over 30 years at 6.5 percent, would require $17.04 million a year in payments.

That leaves just $1.55 million a year for salaries, maintenance, utilities and other operational costs—not to mention rent that the operator, the Bronx Parking Development Corporation, is supposed to pay the city.

The IDA has yet to release its projections publicly, and even the agency’s IDA board members have had trouble getting information, delaying authorization of the tax-exempt bonds. Agency officials stress that the garages will be able to turn a profit once non-game day revenue is factored in.

“With recent and ongoing South Bronx developments, such as the development of the Bronx Terminal Market and the new Metro North Station, we expect there to be strong demand for parking on non-game days, which certainly help the financial viability of the project,” a spokeswoman e-mailed The Observer.

The thing is, the shopping mall at the Bronx Terminal Market will have its own parking facility. The final environmental impact statement, drafted by the developer’s consultant, anticipated that there would be so much parking to accommodate the shoppers that on a typical Saturday without a Yankee game, the mall’s 2,600-space garage would be no more than 64 percent full. (See p. 16-38 here.)

The ultimate test for the project’s viability will lie with the buyers of the bonds, however. The IDA says that it has identified potential investors—though earlier this week IDA President Maureen Babis told reporters that the bonds will be issued as a private placement and are expected to yield up to 6.5 percent, which is a little bit higher (i.e. riskier investment), than the other recent IDA-approved bonds.