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$1B Sports/Entertainment Complex Moves Forward at Belmont Park

A rendering of the new arena at Belmont Park to be built for the New York Islanders. A rendering of the new arena at Belmont Park to be built for the New York Islanders.

ELMONT, NY—The New York Islanders are returning to Nassau County.

State officials announced today that New York Area Partners has been selected as the winning bidder  for the $1-billion redevelopment of property adjacent to the storied Belmont Park here that will include a new 18,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders.

The Islanders currently play their home games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but first took the ice in 1972 at the Nassau Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale where they won four Stanley Cup championships from 1980 through 1983. Changes in ownership and frustrated development plans at the Nassau Coliseum eventually prompted the team to relocate to Brooklyn in 2015. No time frame on when the Islanders would begin play at the new arena near the border with Cambria Heights, Queens, was released.

The New York Islanders will have a 49-year lease with renewal options, valued at $40 million for the full build-out of the arena. New York State will negotiate with the New York Islanders to ensure they will play as many games as possible at the redeveloped Nassau Coliseum while the arena at Belmont is being built.

Empire State Development announced the issuance of a Request for Proposals for the Belmont Park project earlier this years.

The winning bid also calls for a new 435,000-square-foot retail and entertainment complex, a new 200-250 key, full-service hotel, nearly six acres of outdoor recreation space, up to 10,000 square feet of community space, as well as upgrades to the storied Belmont Park property. The plan also calls for additional parking at the Belmont Park complex.

“When they (the Islanders) left and went to Brooklyn, Long Island lost something,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It was sad because they were so much a part of the identity, the culture and the character of Long Island. And I always felt that when the Islanders left, they left a hole in the heart of Long Island.”

The governor touted the significance of the mixed-use project noting that the development will create 12,300 construction jobs and 3,100 permanent jobs upon build-out. “The return of the Islanders is exciting for all fans, bringing the storied franchise back to its rightful home,” Gov. Cuomo added. “The creation of this world-class entertainment destination will bring visitors from near and far, as we continue to transform the region and strengthen our economic momentum on Long Island.”

The winning bidder for the Belmont redevelopment project—New York Arena Partners—is a joint venture among Sterling Equities, the Scott Malkin Group (owner of the Islanders), Madison Square Garden and the Oak View Group.

The New York Area Partners venture bested a proposal submitted by Major League soccer’s New York City FC.

“We would like to thank the governor for his vision and leadership and the staff at ESDC for all their hard work,” said Sterling Equities’ Jeff Wilpon on behalf of New York Arena Partners. “We look forward to developing an economic hub that Elmont and the rest of Long Island will be proud of.”

The plan also calls for the Long Island Railroad to develop a plan to modify service to Belmont Park Station for sporting and special events.

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