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.
The plan would include a resort and casino with a new arena for the Islanders.
"My administration has been in discussion with the Shinnecock Indian Nation with respect to Nassau Coliseum being listed as a site for an entertainment destination center and casino," Mangano said in a statement Tuesday.
"And finally, know this:
Brooklyn is very much in play.
Queens is very much in play, although it’s a close second to Brooklyn now.
Suffolk is not a serious option.
The Islanders will not leave the New York metropolitan area during this generation or the next one."
Rechler said there was "some sound, legitimate questioning" on the impact of the redevelopment plan, but he said board members also spent hours debating the project’s traffic consultant, even though the methodology was backed by the Nassau County Department of Public Works.
"You had amateurs arguing with experts," Rechler said.
Know this: over the last two weeks, the lead agency (the Town of Hempstead) and the developers (Wang and Scott Rechler) have received green lights from the New York State Department of Transportation, the Nassau County Department of Public Works and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
And yet, the Town of Hempstead wants to sit on the Lighthouse Project like George Costanza of "Seinfeld" taking his time with the Penske File.
"... 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."
"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."
Kate Murray did not show up for a planned meeting with Wang and Democratic county leaders recently, but she had time to hire her 83-year-old father for a $40-an-hour part-time job in the town attorney’s office. With priorities like that, it is hard to imagine keeping the Islanders.