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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Officials react to Coliseum proposals
Decision on developer expected in June or July
Christina Daly/Herald
The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale may soon be undergoing redevelopment.

A lot of buzz has surrounded the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum since May 2, when four companies presented their plans during a press conference in Mineola to revamp the 41-year-old Uniondale complex.

Among the respondents to County Executive Ed Mangano’s Request for Proposals included the company Nassau Events Center LLC, headed by the same developers who built the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, comprising CEO Brett Yormark, developer Bruce Ratner and Jay-Z, among others.

The Madison Square Garden Group, headed by CEO Hank Ratner — no relation to Bruce — was another familiar name.

New York Sports and Entertainment LLC, led by developer Bernie Shereck, and Blumenfeld Development Group Ltd., with Edward Blumenfeld and his son David, rounded out the other proposals.

After two prior proposals to revamp the Coliseum had failed — the privately funded Lighthouse Project and a publicly funded rebuilt arena, respectively — the presentations represented new hope for the arena, and its 77 acres, to be redesigned.

The Herald asked several elected officials for their thoughts on these latest developments, most of whom expressed their excitement with the buzz that has been created by the four respondents.

“I am extremely pleased that big names have come to the table,” said Norma Gonsalves, a Republican from East Meadow, and the presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature. “For so many years, we have all been frustrated to see that this property has laid foul.”

Gonsalves said she has yet to closely examine the proposals, but that she is excited to see the amount of interest the arena has generated. “This has been a long time coming,” she said. “It’s so important to the fiscal stability of the county to move forward with a plan.”

She added that she hopes a selection is made soon, so public feedback could be sought before a proposal is put before the Legislature. The full Legislature meets again on June 24 and July 15, with a final meeting on Aug. 5 before it recesses until Sept. 23.

Kevan Abrahams, a Democrat, and the Legislature’s minority leader, said he is “dying” to look at the proposals. “Based on what I’ve read, they sound very exciting,” he said.

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