He added that the Legislature must give the project its proper due diligence. “This is the largest project in the county’s history,” said Abrahams. “It’s something that is going to transform the county to its next stage of what it’s going to be for the next 20 to 50 years.”
But like Gonsalves, Abrahams also said the interest in the arena is a positive sign. “Based off years of the county not being able to get it right … to still have this level of interest speaks volumes as to why this project is so important. So we’re on the plus side,” he said.
Legislator Dave Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, said he regrets that the Lighthouse Project wasn’t scaled down after its initial rejection by the Town of Hempstead. He said it was a decision that ultimately cost the county its only professional sports team. “But there’s still development opportunities, and in my mind, it should be more than just about the arena,” said Denenberg, “but the development around the arena to create a location for things to do in Nassau County.”
A spokesperson for the Town of Hempstead said that Town Supervisor Kate Murray has yet to study the proposals, but that in the outset, she sees no “red flags” regarding any potential zoning issues with the plans. “Top notch developers put forth impressive conceptual plans for a re-developed Nassau Veteran Coliseum and associated construction,” said Murray. “The town created a zoning framework for the Uniondale site so that the construction approval process could be streamlined for the County’s selected developer. I am optimistic that whomever Nassau selects will help rebuild the identity of the County’s HUB, restore luster to a major downtown area, support needed construction jobs and contribute to the local tax base.”
Murray added, “I am impressed with the quality of the developers, and I am eager to see the detailed plans of Nassau County’s selected developer.”