Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order today stopping all “non-essential” construction and diverting efforts towards building four new hospitals in the area. No time frame was given as to when work would start again, but for right now, the only projects listed as essential include roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities and health care facilities.
How this impacts the building’s opening a season from now remains to be seen. From the report:
“If construction restarts within a reasonable period, we expect to maintain our schedule and for the arena to be open for the 2021-22 NHL season,” said Richard Browne, Managing Partner of Sterling Project Development, which is handling the arena’s construction.
The Islanders issued a statement via GM Lou Lamoriello that they support the governor, who has been a major proponent of the arena, and are focused on the health and safety of the work crews:
Statement from #Isles President/GM Lou Lamoriello on construction halt at Belmont Park:— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) March 27, 2020
“We support Governor Cuomo’s efforts to eliminate the COVID-19 virus. He has been the driving force behind the construction of Belmont Park Arena.... (more)"
Lou Lamoriello (continued): "... The progress that has been made since the groundbreaking is truly incredible and is a credit to all of the construction workers that have been there every day. Those workers are all a part of our community and we want them safe and healthy.”— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) March 27, 2020
Today’s announcement isn’t surprising given the current climate and the immense distress across the world, and particularly in New York, right now. Hospitals are overrun and more beds are needed.
If you’ve been watching the Belmont Park web cam daily like I have (It’s part of my morning routine along with a cup of tea and a bowl of cereal or a bagel), you’ll know that folks were working on the arena as of yesterday, March 26th. Thanks to a very mild winter, it seemed like construction may have been ahead of schedule already.
In the meantime, you can watch the building go up bit-by-bit by clicking “Timelapse” at the top of the webcam, moving the little circle on the timeline at the bottom all the way to the left and pressing play.