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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Three cheers for the new Nassau Hub!

Finally, we have made progress and are closer to ending the nearly two-decade-long debate on the outdated Nassau Coliseum.

Last Thursday, County Executive Ed Mangano, accompanied by fellow lawmakers and community business leaders, announced the selection of Forest City Ratner to redevelop the Coliseum. This deal will transform the 77-acre property, known to many Islanders as the Hub, into a sports and entertainment mecca.

Nassau County was fortunate enough to have two great organizations bidding to redevelop the area. Both Forest City Ratner and Madison Square Garden are first-class organizations, and with either proposal, county taxpayers would have been winners.

Forest City Ratner plans to build a 13,000-seat arena with the ability to reduce it to 4,000 seats as needed. The redevelopment will cost approximately $229 million, financed entirely by Forest City Ratner’s Nassau Events Center.

There are already plans for the redeveloped site to host six regular- and preseason Islanders games, a Brooklyn Nets preseason game and a minor league American Hockey League team, along with lacrosse, arena football, college basketball and professional boxing events. There will also be an entertainment facility on the grounds that will feature a 2,000-seat theater, a 2,500-seat amphitheater that can be converted to an ice skating rink in the winter and six restaurants, a bowling alley or movie theater and about 50,000 square feet of retail space.

It’s estimated that the redevelopment plan will generate $10.9 billion in economic activity over 30 years, including 1,331 construction jobs and 2,500 full-time, part-time and seasonal positions.

Mangano should be commended for his perseverance and strong efforts throughout this process. It was just two years ago that Nassau County voters rejected a $400 million public borrowing plan. Mangano continued to push to ensure that the Hub would be redeveloped in order to boost economic activity in the county.

At last Thursday’s press conference, he said, “This plan gives us a clear path to success, and I hope everyone will get on board.”

I second that motion.

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