BY LUIS GRONDA
Renderings assumed to be of the proposed Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park leaked online this week, giving people the first glance at what the stadium could look like if it is built, but MLS has denied that the sketches carried any weight.
The renderings were shown during a presentation by Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, which is the company in charge of designing the stadium that MLS hopes to build in the park, at Columbia University.
According to published reports, Pasquarelli was presenting to a group of students about the design and development of the Barclays Center. ShoP is the same company that designed the downtown Brooklyn arena, which opened last year for its main tenant, the Brooklyn Nets.
During that presentation, according to the blog, empireofsoccer.com, he showed images of the stadium flashing on the screen, without saying specifically what stadium it is or its location.
“The project I’m not supposed to show [you] so I am not going to tell you where it is or what it is but it’s a new stadium that should be announced in the next couple of months,” Pasquarelli reportedly said.
Video of the entire presentation, including the part where he discusses the Queens MLS Stadium, was posted Feb. 24 on netsdaily.com, a Brooklyn Nets blog on the sports news outlet sbnation.com. The video has since been deleted.
Reports of the presentation say that Pasquarelli went into detail about the proposed design of the soccer stadium, including the outside view of the stadium, which would have a see-through look, giving it an appearance that the facility was built without any walls. The skeleton-like appearance would give MLS the flexibility to expand it if necessary. When MLS Commissioner Don Garber first presented the league’s plans to build the stadium last year, he said that the stadium’s capacity would be 25,000 but it would be built to allow expansion to 35,000.
According to empireofsoccer.com, one of the other renderings gives a look at parkland that MLS would replace as a requirement for building the stadium on parkland. One photo shows a soccer field constructed on the bottom right corner with the stadium and the Unisphere in the background. The soccer field would be east of the stadium alongside Perimeter Road and the Van Wyck Expressway.
Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates, a group that has been critical of the proposed stadium since MLS’ plans were made public, called the stadium renderings “a nightmare.”
“It shows the enormity of what they want to impose there,” he said. “Actually seeing its height and girth, it really puts it into perspective.”
MLS President Mark Abbott denied that the sketch was a design for the stadium. He said the design process for the facility would not start until MLS finds an owner for the club in Queens.
“This was simply a concept drawing that was done only to help determine the potential height and footprint. Any assertion that these drawings represent what a stadium will look like in Queens is wrong,” Abbott said.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.