The new developer for the Nassau Coliseum property is the man who helped lure Charles Wang and the New York Islanders to Brooklyn after Wang and Nassau County (and Town of Hempstead) ... couldn't agree on how to redevelop Nassau Coliseum.
Such twists are all too fitting in this 30-year saga, which saw "Long Islands only pro franchise" pick up and leave. Also fitting is the suggestion that the losing bidder, Rangers/Newdsay/Cablevision head Charles Dolan's MSG, sounds like it might not be done fighting.
Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner, under the entity Nassau Events Center LLC, gets the nod as announced today by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.
From the horse's mouth (and we use that term purely innocently, I assure you):
I am pleased to announce that Nassau Events Center, LLC is the successful proposer to transform the 43-year old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Plaza into an attractive, first class destination for family fun, sports and entertainment. This is also the unanimous recommendation of the County’s RFP Committee. Accordingly, I will soon send the NEC lease to the Nassau County Legislature which is the next step in the approval process.
NEC will invest a minimum of $229 Million in renovating the Coliseum and the Plaza to create a first class destination. During the initial 34 year lease term, Nassau County will receive 8% of gross revenue, 12.75% of parking fees with a minimum guaranteed payment of $4 Million a year escalating by 10% every five years, resulting in a minimum lease term payment of $195 Million to the County.
With options exercised, the minimum lease payment grows to $334 Million. Similarly, the Plaza area, now concrete, will be transformed and will generate the greater of $400,000 a year in rent or 8% of the gross revenue. In addition, Nassau County maintains rights for future development on the site.
Now Ratner can officially say: "Hey Wang, it's a parking lot ... but not for much longer."
Does This Impact the Islanders?
For Isles fans, the Ratner plan proposed about six Islanders games (including preseason) per year at the renovated Coliseum. Whether that really happens will be subject to the winds and whims of fate and the market rate for nostalgia. Another underlying wrinkle is the prospect of minor league something at the Coliseum, with some even speculating the Baby Isles currently known as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers could be ferried over to the Coliseum.
The Sound Tigers, owned by the Islanders, have a long-term lease in Bridgeport. The Rangers' Hartford
Wolfpack Whale Wolfpack have a short-term lease in Hartford and, many believe, will target a move. At minimum, this should mean the owner of the Rangers is not taking over Fort Neverlose, but some kind of minor pro sports team may operate there.
Oh, and there are also the rumblings about the possibility of the Isles leaving the Coliseum a year early, which theoretically makes more sense with Ratner involved in both locations.
"Well this whole thing is just who knows who. Then over here you have favoritism."