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Press Exclusive: Plug Is Pulled On Lighthouse

Wang is walking away from project after five-year battle


Sources say Charles Wang is tired of playing the game, and has abandoned the Lighthouse project inside his company. No public announcement has been made. (Photo from AP)

Sources say Charles Wang is tired of playing the game, and has abandoned the Lighthouse project inside his company. No public announcement has been made. (Photo from AP)

Darkness has fallen around the Lighthouse.

A source has informed the Long Island Press that, although there has been no public announcement, the ambitious Lighthouse Project has already been abandoned internally by New York Islanders team owner Charles Wang.


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The source has also indicated that reorganization has already begun within Wang’s company, reassigning some top-level executives who have been key members of the Lighthouse initiative to work on other unrelated projects.

The news became the hot topic on sports talk shows and lit blogs and the Twitterverse on fire.

One source says it would not be surprising, given Wang’s self-imposed deadline of Oct. 3 to have an approval from Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and the Town Board before he would put an end to the project. The Islanders opened up their season the day the deadline came and went.

The lack of financing for a project of this scale in this economic climate—the largest development since the birth of Levittown in the 1940s and ’50s—may be reason enough for Wang to pull the plug, says the source. Using the deadline may have been a tactic to enable him to gracefully bow out of the controversial project.

Lighthouse spokesman Paul Lancey had no comment. Nor did officials from the Town of Hempstead or Wang’s development partner RXR.

The Lighthouse Project has been touted by several organizations such as the Long Island Association (LIA) and the Long Island Regional Planning Board (LIRPB) as well as countless politicians and citizens as the single most important development project facing the region.

The joint venture between Charles Wang and Scott Rechler, chief executive officer of RXR, has faced many political hurdles, including a five-year standstill with Nassau County officials followed by a slow-moving zoning process in the Town of Hempstead over the last year.

Wang bought the Islanders in 2000. Since first being proposed in 2003, the Lighthouse has undergone intense scrutiny from environmentalists and politicians, reaching a fever pitch in recent months with allegations that Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, Murray and former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato have all played key roles in stalling progress.

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