New York developer Bruce Ratner has proposed plans for upgrading and possibly saving the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island as the NHL’s New York Islanders bid farewell to the arena. The Islanders will join the NBA’s Brooklyn nets next year in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Ratner has been reported to be planning on spending as much as $229 million for a renovated 13, 000 seat arena and other new facilities surrounding it.
It may be hard to believe today, but The Nassau Coliseum was considered a great new arena when it first opened in 1972. It became home to the then New York Nets of the defunct ABA (later the New Jersey Nets of the NBA and now the Brooklyn Nets) and for forty years it hosted the NHL expansion team the New York Islanders.
But as the Islanders escape the confines of Nassau County to Brooklyn for what the franchise hopes will be a brighter future, the dilapidated and now out of date arena is in danger of closing.
But now Newsday has reported that Bruce Ratner is finally stepping up to be the white knight who will save the coliseum, not that anyone outside of Long Island really cares. The paper reported that Ratner intends to formally submit his proposal for upgrading and “saving” the arena to local government officials in the Town of Hempstead today.
His Forrest City Ratner affiliate Nassau Events Center LLC won approval on Monday for funding for its plans for a $90 million renovation of the area which would include a new retail and entertainment complex. The vote was 17-2. Local legislators agreed to allow Ratner seek foreign financing for the project.
This comes less than three weeks after Forest City Ratner had a falling out with its partner in the project, Blumenfeld Development Group, over the former’s plans to scale back the size of the project.
The original plan called for 300, 000 square feet of restaurants, retail and entertainment businesses, including a 100, 000 square foot Bass Pro Shops megastore, a Dave & Buster’s, a Modells, an indoor trampoline park and a multi-screen movie theater.
Ratner then decided to cut the project in half and limit the new entertainment facilities to a bowling alley, a movie theater and a restaurant next to the arena.