New Life For Nassau

A developer is set to build a $1.6 billion project that would include renovations to New York’s aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The proposal by Charles Wang, owner of the New York Islanders who play at the Coliseum, and developer Reckson & Associates was picked by Nassau County officials March 16th over three others, including one headed by the owner of the New York Mets.

Along with upgrading the SMG-managed basketball and hockey facility in Uniondale, the project will add a canal lined with retail shops, residential housing, office space, transportation and infrastructure improvements, and a minor-league baseball park.

The deal isn’t a slam dunk, yet. The proposal still needs approval from a variety of city and county review boards. The process could take up to two years to complete, according to Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi.

It doesn’t hurt that Wang’s involvement in the project ensures the Islanders won’t look for greener pastures anytime soon. Wang had reportedly spoken previously with officials in nearby Suffolk County about building a new hockey facility.

“There was always, I think, a general understanding of anybody who looks at this reasonably that if we didn’t do something we’d lose the Islanders,” Suozzi said. “The deal now … is even better. We have certainty that we have the Islanders until 2025.”

The decision comes shortly after the 17,000-capacity Nassau Coliseum sustained severe damage when a sewer pipe burst March 11th, flooding the backstage area and the Islanders’ workout room. Estimated cost to repair the damage was about $1 million.

Pollstar‘s attempts to reach Nassau Coliseum GM Chris Wright were unsuccessful at press time.