“We are just starting the process,” Palanker said. “We don’t have any preconceived notions. We have ideas that are on the table, and what we do as master developer is work with our partners in the county, work with the Town of Hempstead and the community at large to determine what’s the right project that’s going to be sustainable and really be a catalyst for additional economic development on Long Island.”
Renaissance Downtowns, which is based in Plainview, is also working on redeveloping the Village of Hempstead, which is just a mile from the 77-acre Hub site. Because of this, Palanker explained, there is less pressure to add residential units at the Hub.
“We are looking to provide a transit link between the Long Island Rail Road station and the bus terminal in the Village of Hempstead with the Nassau Hub,” he said. “That’s one of the keys to getting cars off the road. It’s an opportunity for people to perhaps live downtown in the village [and] to work at a high-paying job.
“Now we’re not adding to traffic, we’re not adding to pollution,” Palanker added, “but we are adding to our tax revenues and our economic development.”
In October, New York Islanders owner Charles Wang signed a 25-year lease with the newly built Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the Islanders will play their home games beginning in 2015. In 2011, Nassau County voters defeated a referendum that would have publicly financed a new arena. In the months after the referendum, Wang made it clear that he would explore all options when it came to the future of the Islanders, and ultimately partnered with Ratner, his good friend, who was also the developer and is the majority owner of the Barclays Center.
Despite the Islanders’ move, those who are involved in the effort to redevelop the Hub are confident in the project’s success. Palanker said the project is a tremendous opportunity for all of Long Island despite the fact that the Coliseum will no longer have the Islanders as its anchor tenant.
“Our goal isn’t just to do something that works for us,” he said, “but something that is really going to be a shining star for Long Island.”
The goal of the development team, Palanker said, is to break ground on the Hub project by the end this year.