To build in New York, you've got to play ball.
In it's seemingly all-encompassing mission to drop a team into Flushing Meadows in Queens, Major League Soccer spent nearly $1.7 million -- $1,694,216, to be exact -- on lobbying the New York city government last year. That's more than half a million dollars more than than the next biggest lobbyist, Albee Development, who's working on City Point, a development in downtown Brooklyn.
As great an opportunity as this would be to lay into Don Garber, as I've done before, this really says more about New York real estate than it does Garber's desire to see a team in his home borough: Most of the rest of the top 10 are involved in real estate.
After Albee -- the only other spender in the millions -- there's South Street Limited Seaport and Trinity Church. There's Cornell University and the Atlantic Yards Development company, too.
If they all sound sort of familiar, it's because they've all been involved in some kind of redevelopment projects. Downtown at the South Street Seaport, Pier 17 was the focus of redevelopment plans last year. Trinity Church, the wealthiest Anglican church in the world, has been at odds with itself over "outsized redevelopment propositions." Cornell is working on building a campus on Roosevelt Island. If the Atlantic Yards sounds familiar, it's because the Barclays Center, where the Brooklyn Nets play, was part of the development. Oh, yeah and there was a whole eminent domain thing. They made a movie about it.
So none of this should be particularly surprising. What should set off the BS-meters citywide is the idea that, somehow, they're at the finish line right now. Even if it's on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's priority list, because he's nearing the end of his term as mayor.