It has been well documented over the past few years that Nassau Coliseum has been in need of renovations.
The New York Islanders and their ownership group have been trying to get the building renovated, but it has been to no avail. Thus the team has been moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season. Once that was announced, groups of people put in bids to renovate the 77 acres around the Coliseum, and that was finally settled yesterday.
The Forrest City Ratner Company won the rights to rebuild and renovate the Coliseum and the surrounding area. This is important for the Islanders and for Nassau County. Ratner added that the timing of the Islanders move to the Barclays Center is still the 2015-16 season. Coliseum renovations will begin during the summer of 2015, with the building set to re-open by September 2017. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano says that the new Coliseum will come at no cost to the Nassau County taxpayer.
It helps out Nassau County on many levels. It gives the arena the face lift and makeover it has been needing since the early 90s, first and foremost. Also just as important, it allows for growth to the economy of Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead, as it’s estimated to generate about $10.9 Billion in economic activity over 30 years, and will include over 3,000 new jobs from construction to part and full time year round work. It will be used for arena football, basketball, lacrosse and just important, hockey. This aspect is where the Islanders come in.
This deal was important to the Islanders because the company that won the bidding war to rebuild the site owns the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, where the Islanders will be playing in 2015-16. According to the reports in Newsday early Friday, there is a potential deal in place to have the Islanders play six games a year, preseason and regular season, at the Coliseum. General Manager Garth Snow and Islanders Owner Charles Wang were able to work it out with the developers so that the Islanders can play games at their old barn.
Something like this makes a guy like me so happy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing that the Islanders will have a building to play in when they head to Brooklyn, but it’s going to make it tough for a lot of fans to get to games, specifically those who live out East on Long Island.
By having six games being played at the Coliseum, it will make it a tad more accessible for fans to get to see their club play. So this new deal will benefit all parties involved. The Coliseum gets a much needed makeover, it won’t cost the taxpayers a cent and it will generate revenue for the county. As for the Islanders, they will get a great new home in Brooklyn, and will also get a taste of real home cooking getting to play at the Coliseum, which honestly is where I think they should have stayed the whole time.
So what do you guys think? Did the Islanders get a fair share in being able to play six games a year at the Coliseum?