Nassau Coliseum Renovation Plans Vary Widely; Islanders Connection Seen As Central
The four proposals to redevelop Nassau Coliseum "involve different paths, and there's no clear model to replicate," according to Robert Brodsky of NEWSDAY. Planners, sports and entertainment experts and local officials "agree that redevelopment of the 77-acre Coliseum site is essential to the region's future," but they "part company on whether the complex can succeed without a major-league sports franchise as its anchor -- or whether the restaurants, shows and other entertainment components are enough for the project to succeed." None of the proposals include "a full-time major-league team." Forest City Ratner's proposal includes "a minor-league hockey team and six regular or preseason Islanders games per season." Madison Square Garden Co.'s plan "calls for a renovated 14,500-seat arena with at least one of three teams: minor-league hockey, a developmental league basketball team or the WNBA Liberty." An entertainment complex "would feature restaurants and sports bars." Blumenfeld Development Group would "demolish the existing Coliseum and build a new arena with between 9,000 and 12,000 seats that would host minor-league hockey and concerts." New York Sports LLC would "renovate the interior and downsize the arena to 8,000 to 10,000 seats, bringing in college lacrosse and a minor-league hockey team." Nassau County Exec Edward Mangano said that he will "make a decision by July 15, after receiving an advisory recommendation from his 17-member business council" (NEWSDAY, 6/17). The N.Y. POST cited sources as saying that Forest City Ratner "believes Islanders fans will find it a lot more appealing to see live Islanders games at the arena instead of old hockey sticks on the wall of a sports bar." Sources said that Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark is "delighted he has the Garden on defense." Appealing to Islanders fans has "become central in the battle to renovate" the Coliseum (N.Y. POST, 6/16).