Last week I was telling myself that I would be done blogging if No won. Well No won and I'm blogging again.
While most of the attention regarding a new home for the Islanders has been focused on Queens and Brooklyn, I think the most logical place for the team (for now at least) remains Nassau, for now other reason than that's where they are and all other locations remain completely hypothetical. Yesterday, Mangano rolled out an RFP process for the Hub that can only be described as bizarre. While ostensibly Mangano is asking the public to submit development ideas that can be used a s a basis for the County to prepare an RFP for the Hub, Mangano's clear purpose is to call ABLI's (and Jay Jacobs') bluff regarding their claims that there is a viable market for a Hub plan with an arena that can be privately funded consistent with the current zoning. And no, I am not reading Mangano's mind here, I am reading his tweets and Facebook posts:
I am calling on everyone who said that they have a private sector solution for the Hub to come forward as soon as possible
The critics have said for weeks that the whole project could be privately financed. Now is the time for them to come forward
Several people has stated private financing can be done. Now is the time for them to step up and show us
there are developers and politicians who claimed the entire Hub could be redeveloped with private financing. The people have spoken and that is what they want.
Now is the time for those individuals to come forward and help all us realize Nassau's future
He made similar statements to the media at the press conference and in media interviews. In the short term, I guess his aim is to show that his plan was the only realistic one to keep the team where they are and that Jay Jacobs' idea of a privately funded arena -- or any privately development plan -- is either not workable or would face significant obstacles that a publicly funded arena would not. And this article in Newsday regarding the challenges of developing the Hub given the current zoning suggests that Mangano was right:
Advocates said they would like to see office and retail space and housing there. But some said the market isn't there for that now or in the immediate future.
"If I'm a betting man, you're looking at asphalt five years from now, and probably ten years from now," Dubb said. "I just feel it's many, many years away."
So what is Mangano's long term plan for the Hub and the Islanders? I don't know but, consider the following: A year from now, when there are no looming County elections, what if the economic/fiscal climate is somewhat better and there is a somewhat more successful hockey team on the Coliseum ice? And what if the RFP process shows County voters that a private arena deal -- or any economically viable deal for that matter -- is hopelessly complicated or unrealistic? Would voters have more of an appetite for a modified publicly funded plan for a new Coliseum?