The effort between the New York Islanders and Nassau County to keep the Islanders where they belong started back in 2003. Given the financial position of the County, the Islanders developed a plan to fund the transformation of the Coliseum. This plan, which came to be known as the Lighthouse, included additional development necessary to fund the construction and other expense of a new home for the Islanders.
While we have not yet had the time to review the "new vision" just released by Supervisor Murray and the Town of Hempstead for the redevelopment of the Coliseum site, it does not appear to achieve the goals of the County and the developer. Without this, the Town of Hempstead’s "new vision" looks to be economically unviable for both the developer and owner of the site.
Jones Lang LaSalle, the project management company for the upcoming $500 million renovation of Madison Square Garden, has begun work on a feasibility study for an Islanders arena at Willets Point -- the property surrounding Citi Field, the second-year home of the Mets.
Actually, things may be more serious than that. Talk among NHL insiders is that the Islanders are now in deep financial trouble. Some are worried Wang may be the next NHL owner to toss the keys to the franchise to Bettman and say he is finished paying for losses in excess of $20-million (U.S) every year.
"... For seven years, Charles Wang has committed himself, both emotionally and financially to keeping the Islanders here ... I am a native Islander, and I support the Lighthouse project. And I don't believe there is any place that the Islanders should be playing but here on Long Island."
"First, thank you for the patience you've exhibited. We're going to make some mistakes, we're going to do some very smart things. We're going to stay the course, we're going to build this team with the younger players, through the draft, and sprinkle in the kind of free agents we believe will add to the team."
"I'm told fan polls and surveys and such won't affect the decision. But honestly, I think the environment surrounding the pick will be super-heated by June 26th. Who knows whether Charles Wang will suggest that Tavares could be awfully good for the box office? ... If they go a different direction, it will be out of a very strong conviction because they'll need a lot of backbone to back it up and explain it to the fan base."
"Wang came away very optimistic with the events of today, satisfied that he was able to speak to Murray for the first time since January. He looks forward to meeting Friday with Murray, Suozzi, and Rechler at Suozzi's office. But he made one thing clear: the October deadline has not changed."
"If I had the chance, I wouldn't do it again."
"Ultimately, if you don't want to go to a [Islanders] game because the arena is a dump, I lose, the county loses, everybody loses. I want this thing to proceed. We can talk and talk, but we've got to get off our butts. Let's get it done."