Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is once again in the market for a developer to rebuild Nassau Coliseum and redevelop the nearby area as he tries to keep the New York Islanders in their Uniondale home.
The administration is issuing a Request-For-Qualifications (RFQ) to select a master developer for the coliseum and its surrounding 77 acres of property. Mangano said the goal is to break a “logjam” in negotiations with Islanders owner Charles Wang over sharing the cost of building a new arena.
“This plan presents the opportunity for Long Island to shed the moniker of the ‘Land of No’ and move forward with job creation and retention of an important sports-entertainment venue,” Mangano said in a statement.
The developer would be tasked with “bridging the gap between the dollars necessary to construct a new arena and the rent a sports team should realistically pay to play in the arena,” the statement reads.
Wang, a former software company executive, had proposed a massive mixed-use development — commercial and residential — at the site after he bought the NHL team about a decade ago, but the plan died in the planning stages. Voters rejected an August referendum to borrow $400 million taxpayer money to rebuild the coliseum.
Mangano since went back to the drawing board and asked for privately financed proposals in the area known as the Nassau Hub. Mixed-use development will offset the cost of rebuilding the arena, he said. It would be required to stay within Town of Hempstead zoning requirements.
The overall goal is to keep the Islanders from moving when their lease at the coliseum is up in 2015, as Wang has threatened. The team is scheduled to play an Oct. 2 preseason game against the New Jersey Devils at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which has fueled speculation of the possible move.
The developer chosen in the RFQ would also be charged with producing “alternative plans for review.”