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Arrivederci to the City's Luxe Boxes at New Ballparks

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Damn publicity. It's ended up costing the Bloomberg administration perks that it really wanted: free luxury suites at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Per today's Times the city is giving up the use of its 12-seat box in exchange for money the team makes by selling the seats. Suites go for as much as $600K a year. The Post reports the city is also giving up its luxe suite at Citi Field, although that is worth less. The trouble started when emails surfaced that showed aides to the Mayor, in the words of the Times "had zealously pursued the luxury box, as well as free food and access to post-season games." After the city got the suites, the Yankees got 250 more parking spaces and rights to three more billboards along the Major Deegan Expressway. (We assume it was a harmless way of showing love for the Bombers.) As for the timing, the city will probably announce hundreds of millions of dollars of added tax-free financing for both teams next week. The Yanks could get $400 million.

We know that nobody likes the details of cost-benefit analysis and most of them historically-speaking are what comes out of the back end of a bull, but late yesterday the city released some new numbers showing everybody's going to be super-happy. Per Eliot Brown at TRE:

For the Yankees project, costs directly to the city are up substantially since the last analysis in 2006 (from $34.3 million to $209.5 million, excluding new parkland that has also risen in cost); though, somewhat curiously, so too are benefits (from $173.1 million to $438.3 million). The Mets figures showed less of a disparity, as costs were up from $91.4 million to $128.8 million, while benefits went up from $139.3 million to $199 million. The new numbers are in 2009 dollars, while the prior figures were in 2006 dollars. The increased costs come as construction costs have jumped substantially since 2006, and the scope, at least for Yankee Stadium, has increased some.One catches the enticing aroma of the city softening up the public in the middle of a horrific budget crisis for tossing the teams hundreds of millions of tax-free loans.
· City Trades Its Yankee Stadium Suite for Cash [NYT]
· City is Out at Home [NYP]
· City Drops Luxe Box at Yankee Stadium [Metro]