By Eden Laikin
Uniondale, NY – Once re-developed by Forest City Ratner, the new Nassau Coliseum will host 6 New York Islanders home games; at least one Brooklyn Nets Basketball game, Heavyweight Boxing championship tournaments, minor league hockey and college basketball games and an exciting array of star-studded performers.
Praising County Executive Ed Mangano’s outstanding leadership and professionally conducted selection process, developer Bruce Ratner promised residents that he would redefine customer service at the new destination, so that customers would be treated better than any other venue.
“We’re finally here because of the good work of County Executive Mangano,” Ratner said, referring to the decade of inaction in development of the area. “He did the right thing. He made the right choice bringing us in and we’re going to prove it to you.”
Ratner will spend $229 million to renovate the aging Coliseum into a 13,000-seat, state of the art arena. On the surrounding land, he’ll build an outdoor amphitheater, ice-skating rink, and a separate theater with 2,000 seats. He also plans to bring lacrosse and AFL (Arena Football League) teams to the coliseum.
These and more exciting details about programming under the winning proposal for the Coliseum and surrounding HUB area, were revealed at a press conference today at the 43-year old arena.
Joining County Executive Mangano at the announcement was Ratner, Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies; Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets; Chris Charlier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Onexim Group, Chairman of the Board of the Brooklyn Nets, and Director of Barclays Center; David Blumenfeld, Principal of Blumenfeld Development Group; Alan Ostfield, President, North Atlantic, Live Nation; Jason Isley, President of Roc Nation; Jason Kidd, Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets; John Calipari, Head Basketball Coach of the University of Kentucky; Matt Martin, New York Islanders; and Bernard Hopkins, World Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
Mangano announced yesterday that Ratner was the selected developer, beating out a competing bid from the Madison Square Garden Company. The new public-private partnership will mean a 100% privately financed Coliseum, and revenue sharing with the County at zero expense to the taxpayer.
Mangano said Forest City Enterprises will pay the county a minimum of a $195 million over the 34 years of the lease.
The crowd cheered loudest, however, when Ratner said his team was a “union only company” and that he was excited and pleased to be able to provide 2,700 jobs with the project – and more than $11 billion in revenue to the local economy.
The New York Islanders franchise will move to the Barclay’s Center when its contract with the Coliseum ends in August 2015. Ratner’s Nassau Events Center would begin paying rent once the lease ends. The accepted plan grants the county a cut of gross revenue, while MSG’s plan would have based the county’s funds on ticket sales alone, said Mangano.
Ratner said there would be more than 300 events at the new Coliseum, many of which are already booked. One of those performers is Jay Z. Mangano said he was contacted this morning by Billy Joel, who was equally as excited about the project. Ratner said he was excited to bring boxing back to the East Coast. Live Nation has also signed on to the project.
“We’re not waiting any more, we’re going to do it now,” Ratner said.
Ed Blumenfeld, founder of Blumenfeld Development Group in Syosset, teamed up with Ratner after losing his own bid for the project, not once but 3 times – the 1970s for the original construction, 2005 to the Lighthouse and 2009. He will be assisting in the development of restaurants and retail at the site.
Representatives from labor trade unions, community groups and the business community were in attendance to celebrate the opportunity that creates jobs and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity per year.