The Mets posted a Citi Field update/puff piece on their site today.
Among the highlights:
- “Work on cozy Citi Field, which is targeted for its inaugural season in 2009, is more than 15 percent complete.”
- “The new 45,000-capacity ballpark (including standing room) will run along 126th Street, which on one side has been an enclave of ramshackle auto parts and repair shacks and on the other was the fenced-off parking lot of the 44-year-old stadium.”
- “The greater ballpark village, which is ultimately expected to transform the blighted area, turning it into a full-service entertainment destination, is the brainchild of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city, thus, is in charge of that massive redevelopment project.” More on this item later…
Unlike the current setup, where the city owns and operates Shea Stadium and is responsible for its upkeep, that significant responsibility will fall on the Mets in the new facility. "We'll be responsible for everything," the younger Wilpon said about what will probably end up costing about $800 million alone for the ballpark structure.
On construction logistics, Jeff Wilpon: “"Just the course of getting materials into New York rather than the Midwest is much higher. The cost of labor is much different. Everyone has to live here. Everything has to all be done union. It's a union job. But the biggest problem is logistically getting material and the cost and the surcharge and added heartache of moving it here."
It will be fun to watch this all take shape as the red-brick facade is put into place during the next 18 months. Meanwhile, the Mets will conclude the Shea Stadium chapter in their history, which began as an expansion team in 1962, five years after the Dodgers and Giants fled to the West Coast. And like everyone else, Wilpon will be watching the ballpark rise as this and another season in the old one transpires in a stadium which was named after the attorney who was instrumental in bringing the NL back to New York.
Fred Wilpon: “I'd advise everyone: Think about what you saw the last time you were here. The great thing is that people can look at it and it'll be different every time you come to a game."