Coliseum plans move forward without Islanders

Bruce Ratner, the developer of the Barclays Center, will study venue


Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced the establishment of a public-private partnership on Tuesday between the county and Bruce Ratner, the chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, to establish a plan to reinvent the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.

Mangano, who was joined by Ratner and New York Islanders owner Charles Wang at the County Legislative Building in Mineola, said that a “Strategic Reuse Plan” will be created within the first half of 2013.

The goal, the county executive said, is to “build the roadmap so the Coliseum is positioned to compete for concerts, family shows and expositions, as well as professional and collegiate sports, preseason games and similar programs that generate the type of economic activity that will work at the Hub.”

Ratner is the developer and majority owner of the newly built Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In October, Wang signed a 25-year-lease for the Islanders to leave Nassau County and play their home games at the Barclays Center, beginning in 2015.

But Ratner, with the help of Wang, said his company would assemble a plan that will consider fan experience, marketing, concessions, programs and the physical structure of the 42-year-old Coliseum. “In Brooklyn, we’ve been able to put together a program and an arena that everybody feels is incredibly positive,” said Ratner. “Our goal is to put together something here which everybody will be very proud of.”

He did not say whether his company would oversee any rebuilding or renovations. “All we’re doing is the study," Ratner said. "What happens afterwards will be up to the county executive."

“This is an inclusive process,” added Mangano, “and the best plan — with the best people at the helm of that plan — will go forward.”

In conjunction, Mangano selected a master developer team, comprised of developers, planners and architects, and led by Renaissance Downtowns, to coordinate the development of the 77-acre Coliseum site. “I believe we can work within the zoning framework recently adopted by the Town of Hempstead,” said Don Monti, the president of Renaissance Downtowns, who added that with a formation of a plan, “We think we have the ability to break ground in 2013.”

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