Islanders-Nassau Coliseum Lease: $14 million rent; 11.5% revenue sharing

Wang and Mangano: Partners in dime

The fuller details and pledges for the proposed lease agreement (for a new Coliseum) between Nassau County and New York Islanders owner Charles Wang were released today. If you saw Newsday's advance piece, there wasn't much new at the public press conference as presented by Wang and County Executive Ed Mangano. But among the highlights are:

  • As previously stated, a new 30-year lease to keep the Isles there through 2045 ("30 year lease" still gives me bad memories; couldn't they make it 29 or 31?)
  • The Islanders would pay $14 million annually in rent for the new facility
  • County taxpayers are "guaranteed 11.5 percent of dollars" generated at the new Islanders-managed arena from all events (not just Islander games)

More details, projections, and promises below:

Wang: 'We Need This, and We Deserve This'

Here's Wang's full speech. He was referring to Long Island and Nassau County ("our kids and our future") -- not just himself or the Islanders -- but you know the "we deserve this" quote will be used both ways depending on the orientation of the voice that relays it.

Here are pledges listed in the press release, some of which will be challenged by critics of the plan in an uncertain economic climate, with uncertain revenue potential:

  • Projection: Camoin Associates says the plan would generate $1.2 billion for the County
  • How that money is to be used: $350 million to build the new arena (including demolishing the existing one); $433 million in debt service payments; $403 million to "hold the line on property taxes"
  • Impact: 3,040 permanent jobs, 1,515 new construction jobs, according to Camoin
  • The sharing of areener revenues: Again, 11.5 percent of every dollar generated from all events at the new arena goes to the County.

Or as Mangano put it: "Every pretzel, every hot dog, ticket, the taxpayers of Nassau County will receive a share of the revenue..." Due to the $14 million annual rent, the thinking is that the money is "guaranteed" to be paid to Nassau.

As previously stated in Newsday, the lease agreement is for a new arena only. Any potential development at the site beyond that will be subject to new Request for Proposals -- which means poor Charles Wang will be subject to still more RFPs if he wants to do anything more with the land other than build the locals a new Coliseum and keep their hockey team in place.

Wang, by the way, (or the Islanders), still pledges to reimburse the County for the cost of the Aug. 1 referendum if it passes.

Details and Further Public Hearings

The lease agreement announced today was structured by Christopher L. Melvin, managing director of Nixon Peabody’s Public Finance group who specifically focuses on stadium and sports finance. To ensure full transparency, both the lease agreement and bonds needed for construction must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, Independent Office of Budget Review, County Legislature, County Comptroller and Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

The County Executive will host a series of public information meetings from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on:

  • Wednesday, June 29th at the East Meadow Library at 1886 Front St. (Town of Hempstead).
  • Thursday, June 30th at the William P. Bennett Hicksville Community Center at 28 West Carl St. (Town of Oyster Bay).
  • Friday, July 1st at the American Legion Hall at 730 Willis Ave. in Williston Park (Town of N. Hempstead).

    Additional public information meetings will be held July 11th through July 15th.

This all, of course, is information provided by the County Executive office and the Islanders -- the two entities who most want this referendum to pass and this new building to be constructed. There will be counterpoints and doubts, and we're not glossing over those here.

But before residents and skeptics question what's on the table, they've go to know what's on the table. Now it's out there.

For the Islanders-centric view: What will a $14 million annual rent payment mean for the club? The current cap floor is expected around $48 million and likely to keep going up by 2015.

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