The New York Islanders are expected to decide “very soon” whether they will continue calling Nassau Coliseum home, according to County Executive Ed Mangano’s top deputy.
The revelation came as lawmakers discussed the hiring of a Westchester-based law firm to handle negotiations related to the long-stalled plans to redevelop the Uniondale arena. Charles Wang, the team’s owner, has said he would move the team when their lease expires in 2015 if the coliseum—one of the oldest in the NHL—isn’t rebuilt.
“The Islanders are going to make a decision whether they’re leaving or not very soon,” Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker told the county legislature’s rules committee Monday. A spokesman for the Islanders declined to comment.
The panel unanimously approved extending an initial $25,000 contract for Pannones Lopes Devereaux & West LLC. The extension is worth an additional $200,000, but that could increase if it’s extended again, according to a Mangano spokesman.
The firm will handle talks with the Isles or another sports team, as well as negotiations with a to-be-selected master developer and the application for a New York State economic development grant.
Walker also said the next round of state funding is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. He added a committee has yet to decide on one of three developers that responded to a Request for Qualifications in July.
The law firm previously consulted the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County in its quest to build a $35 million minor-league baseball park after a public referendum for a local taxpayer-funded ballpark failed.
Nassau voters similarly voted down Mangano’s referendum last summer to borrow $400 million to rebuild the coliseum and build a minor-league baseball park nearby.
The Isles are slated to play an Oct. 2 preseason game against the New Jersey Devils at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which has fueled speculation that Wang could move his team west while keeping the team on Long Island.
-With Rashed Mian