SBD/Issue 122/Facilities & Venues

Lighthouse Group Picked To Renovate Nassau Coliseum Area

Nassau County Selects Lighthouse
Group To Renovate Coliseum Area

Nassau County (NY) officials have chosen the Lighthouse Group, led by Islanders co-Owner Charles Wang and Reckson Associates, to “revive the area surrounding the Nassau Coliseum,” according to Paul Vitello of the N.Y. TIMES. The $1.5B proposal by the Lighthouse Group was one of four bids considered for the project, including one submitted by the Mets Development Co., after the Nassau County Legislature “insisted that [County Exec Thomas Suozzi] seek competing proposals.” Wang’s group “seems to have held the inside track all along because he alone could guarantee that a sports franchise” would occupy the arena. The Lighthouse Group proposal includes a minor league ballpark and a trolley “that would connect the stadium to the coliseum and to a mixture of residential and commercial buildings.” The plan also includes $200M in improvements to the arena. The Nassau County Legislature must still approve the plan. Mets Development Co. COO Jeff Wilpon and Blumenfeld Development Group Principal David Blumenfeld said in a joint statement, “We believe that a new state-of-the-art arena, a new minor league ballpark with a Mets-affiliated team, a significant commitment to a mass transit connection and the better economic return to the county contained in our plan was compelling” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/16). Wilpon: “The one thing we didn’t have was control of the Islanders” (NEWSDAY, 3/16).

OBSTACLES STILL REMAIN: Nassau County officials said that a “new request for proposals will be needed to determine whether other ballpark operators could offer a better deal than” Atlantic League CEO & Long Island Ducks Owner Frank Boulton, who is part of the Lighthouse Group. Reckson CEO Scott Rechler said that he “doubts anyone else could put a stadium on the Mitchel Park site -– because his company controls the surrounding parking.” County officials added that the New York state Legislature “may need to approve any deal for a private ballpark, since Mitchel Park is dedicated parkland” (NEWSDAY, 3/16).

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