Tag: New York Islanders arena

New York Islanders Management Wait for New Arena Voter Referendum Results

Task force proposes $346.5M renovation plan for Nassau Coliseum


While the on-ice future of the New York Islanders seems promising (unless you look at gambling odds), the team is still in limbo when it comes to their arena. Voters shot down a plan for a new arena on August 1, which seemed to curb a last-ditch effort to keep the team in Long Island.

As it turns out, that might not be the last trick locals have up their sleeves, though. Randi F. Marshall of New York Newsday reports that a task force revealed a $345.6 million plan to renovate Nassau Coliseum and its surrounding area (reportedly 77 acres) into a “sports-entertainment complex.” Here’s a quick rundown of what the proposal would entail, according to Marshall’s report.

  • A private developer would spend $100 million to renovate Nassau Coliseum. The goal would be to literally raise the roof of the arena by 25 feet, which could boost the maximum attendance from about 16,000 fans to between 17,000 and 20,000 seats. (This would obviously maximize the profits that the Islanders could generate if they become a bigger draw again.)
  • As far as the surrounding area, the plan would call for a minor league ballpark, a large parking garage, a new indoor rink intended for practices/the public and 70,000 square feet available for other businesses.

Francis Corva – one of the architects who helped put together the proposal – believes that it would be a good move for the area.

“It would be an economic boost for Long Island,” Corva said. “This is vitality being brought to a site which has none at the present time, which is something we will need.”

So far, Newsday reports that government officials are divided (or not commenting) on the issue. Here’s how Islanders owner Charles Wang reacted to the report.

Wang, who has said the Islanders will not play in the current arena after the team’s lease expires in 2015, said, “If somebody comes up with anything definitive, we will obviously look at it. I can tell you one thing very definitively. Oct. 8 the puck drops. And we will have a hell of a season.”

The idea is obviously in its earliest stages, so there’s no telling if it has legs. It would certainly be interesting to dramatically alter Nassau Coliseum to avoid building a new arena altogether, although renovated arenas haven’t always worked out so well for teams in struggling markets.

It might be a while before the proposal gets in front of government and Islanders officials, so we’ll keep an eye on the situation. If nothing else, it’s great to see that locals aren’t giving up on the concept of keeping the team around.

(H/T to Puck Daddy.)

Your New York Islanders August 1 referendum primer

New York Islanders Draft Party
1 Comment

As you may know, tomorrow is a big day for the future of the New York Islanders, Nassau County and the NHL overall. Voters will get the chance to vote for or against a referendum to build a new arena to eventually replace the decrepit Nassau Coliseum, which at this point seems like a mandatory measure for the team to be economically sustainable.

We already shared the fact that the Islanders’ two regional rivals shared their support for people to vote “yes” on the referendum, with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers urging fans and those indifferent to hockey to approve the deal. According to various sources, it appears that the bottom-line cost of the $400 million referendum for voters could be anywhere between $58 and $100 per household (depending on who you ask and if the referendum goes through, that is).

It’s plausible that we’ll have a little more material regarding the building tension and other facets of the referendum between now and the big Monday, August 1 voting, but here’s an extensive collection of some of the opinions and retrospectives regarding that pivotal polling.

New York Newsday’s editorial staff voiced their tentative approval for voting yes.

Nassau County is too populous, too prosperous and too proud to become a place with no significant entertainment venue and no big-time sports team. And it’s too tentatively perched between paths of progress and decline to let a crumbling Coliseum and the flight of the New York Islanders pull it into the pit.

Meanwhile, George Vecsey of the New York Times talks about some of the misgivings of people who simply might not be able to get out to vote anyway.

Life is less hopeful now since the days of Smitty and Potvin. People work two jobs, sit in traffic, suffer the Long Island Railroad, and brood about taxes and budget cuts in their school districts. Skilled workers who fix things at our house muse about moving out of state, and good luck to that. Overpriced homes sit on the market; young people rent or settle for less; the county’s finances are currently under the review of a state oversight board. Does this sound like a county that should be skittering deeper onto the thin ice of hockey finances?

Chris Botta puts together a plus/minus tally for the referendum, including this rather amusing takedown of Billy Joel.

Minus: Point Blank has learned that Billy Joel, who cashed in at the Coliseum for more than a generation, has so far decided to not be involved in the new arena issue because he was concerned about the “controversy.” In the last twenty years – unlike contemporaries such as Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Jackson Browne, Joel has not produced any new rock music. He has not taken a stand on anything except repackaging his greatest hits and making a fortune playing nostalgia concerts. Hey Piano Man, grow a pair.

Craig Custance points out that this isn’t just a big vote for the Islanders and its community, either.

This isn’t just a big vote for Islanders fans, it’s a big vote for hockey fans in Seattle, Quebec City, Kansas City, Hamilton, Ont., or any other place hoping to one day lure an NHL team like Winnipeg successfully did in landing the Thrashers this year.

Forbes’ Tom Van Riper wonders if a vote for “no” would really guarantee that the team would leave while Larry Brooks brings up an interesting idea: what if the New Jersey Nets owner decides to move the Islanders to Brooklyn if the team needs to relocate?

It stands to reason that [Mikhail] Prokhorov would be interested in acquiring a hockey team that would account for 44-60 dates a season to fill the arena if Wang puts the Islanders on the market.

For a little more reading on the matter, Grantland’s Katie Baker runs down the history of the old Nassau Coliseum while Lighthouse Hockey tackles what locals should wear on Monday. Stay with PHT for information updates and more on the August 1 referendum.