Ratner's Plan For Nassau Coliseum To Host Six Islanders Games Could Face Challenges
Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner’s plan to have six Islanders games each season at a redeveloped Nassau Coliseum starting in '15 could face challenges from a number of NHL entities. According to a source, the NHL, led by Commissioner Gary Bettman, has to approve the annual relocation of six games to the Coliseum. As would MSG, Ratner’s biggest competitor in the request for proposals for the Coliseum project and the owner of the Rangers. All NHL clubs have to approve a team’s plan to play home games outside of their regular arena. “Ratner has the Islanders, but the NHL and MSG can block it,” said the source. “The Islanders, just like all NHL teams, don’t get to scatter their home games. It wouldn’t be easily approved. Among other things, there is the attendance issue.” Ratner’s group, Forest City Ratner, has proposed scaling down the 16,200-seat coliseum to 13,000 seats for games. As it is, when the Islanders move to Brooklyn in '15, the maximum capacity of 15,000 seats for hockey at Barclays Center will be the smallest in the NHL. The Islanders playing six games before a maximum of only 13,000 might not sit well with league execs. Having Islanders Owner Charles Wang’s consent to have the NHL team play six games in the Coliseum was, in the words of Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark, “a big differentiator for our group in this bid.” Besides MSG, the other bidders for the Coliseum are Long Island developers Edward Blumenfeld (who is working with SMG, the coliseum’s current manager) and Bernard Shereck. In October, the Islanders completed a 25-year lease agreement to play in the Brooklyn arena (Christopher Botta, Staff Writer).
THE ISLAND LIFE FOR ME: Ratner this morning appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box," where he discussed his bid for Nassau Coliseum. He noted the venue needs a "lot of work," but he wants it because of "live content." Ratner: "You have Nassau and Suffolk County, 3 million people, and they're some of the richest counties in the country. You've got 3 million people and you can't duplicate an arena location. So now you have an arena that's old and tired and you've got to change it. How do you change it? Architecturally, you've got to make it look spectacular on the outside and the inside." The project will cost about $230M for the "inside, the outside, and it also includes doing restaurants, doing an amphitheater outside, doing a club outside because those kind of uses go very well with an arena" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 5/15).