With MLS expanding to Minnesota and the Indy Eleven getting some clarity on their stadium situation, SBI got in touch with the Cosmos' Eric Stover to provide an update on the Belmont situation. Unfortunately, that update seems to be more of the same, and Stover is beginning to sound a bit frustrated:
"There are plan B’s but nothing that we would lock in on and say, ‘This is our first choice. Everything is still in its infancy, and it’s not worth discussing because we’re not far enough along, but there are a lot of irons in the fire. As an organization, we haven’t narrowed those four or five things to one or two leaders, but, having said that, Belmont is clearly the best choice."
"We want to develop a stadium in the New York Metropolitan area. That’s the best location, and we made that decision early on. We still stand by that. If we can get an answer from the Empire State Development Corporation soon, then we’re going full speed ahead, but we have to do our due diligence. We have to be prepared should we not win the bid, but to be who we are capable of being, we need to be in our our own stadium."
"Two years is way too long for a business to be waiting for a decision like this. I think anybody that’s ever run a business or been part of one can fully understand that challenges we face with that. I think that developers as well feel the same way. We all would like an answer, whatever that might be, so we can move on, whether it’s building a stadium or finding another location."
"I do think there will be a decision of some kind in the near future. What that means, I don’t know. You’ve certainly heard that from me before. I’m kind of running out of ways to say ‘I don’t know’, but I do think that, what we hear on the ground, is that something is coming soon and hopefully it’s in the affirmative for us."
Meanwhile, some other bidders on the Belmont site are starting to get frustrated as well. Ed Blumenfeld, who wants to build a big box store on the site, had the following for Newsday:
"We've spent tens of thousands of dollars, plus plenty of time, answering the RFP and never got a response. Time, effort and money plus no response does not make for good business."
At this point, there's not a whole lot to add to what Stover said, and it's easy to share the frustration of Mr. Blumenfeld. The Cosmos' future success is 100% dependent on securing their own stadium, and having some clarity one way or the other would certainly allow the club to begin moving forward again. Being in limbo stinks, and I'd love to be writing up an update that actually says something substantial.