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Coliseum leaseholder may get an extension on rent

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Nassau County Executive Laura Curran recently announced amendments to the Nassau Coliseum lease that would allow the new leaseholder an extension on its rent until at least this summer.

The lease amendment, which will be voted on by the County Legislature in December, includes a “coronavirus relief period” or abatement on “minimum rent” payment that ends six months after the state’s restrictions on arena venues are lifted.

This also allows the New York Islanders and the Long Island Nets will play at the Coliseum in 2021, if the state and league rules permit play.

Also included in the lease amendment are adjustments to the timelines outlined in the 2019 Development Plan Agreement for the 72 acres surrounding the coliseum, known as the Nassau Hub.

“This extension, coupled with the suspension of rent payments, will give Nassau and the Hub team the opportunity to plan for the future, post [coronavirus], when the entertainment industry restarts,” Curran said. “These actions further solidify my commitment to the Coliseum’s success and our vision for a re-imagined Hub.”

In August, the Coliseum’s former tenant Onexim Sports and Entertainment defaulted on payments and handed control of the arena and the Nassau Hub development to its lender, the U.S. Immigration Fund, which is running the Coliseum under the name Nassau Live.

The deal reached between the two parties recovers $2.2 million in overdue rent owed to Nassau County by Onexim, which ran the Coliseum under the name Nassau Events Center.

USIF is based out of a Jupiter, Florida and run by Nick Mastroianni II. Although not directly tied to the U.S. government, USIF created a $100 million loan for the Coliseum renovation soliciting 200 Chinese investors through a federal program that grants visas in turn for job-creating projects.

Bruce Ratner, owner of Forest City Ratner, sold the Coliseum lease to Onexim in 2015 and developed the financing program. Mastroianni then secured the loan under another company called Nassau Coliseum Funding 100.

Following the lease transfer, the county granted USIF a 60-day grace period, in which it must create and present a plan for sustained Coliseum operations. The deadline passed, however, and Curran proposed the lease amendment in understanding that the venue could not open or maintain any income during those 60 days, she said.

The amendment continues tenant responsibility for utilities, security and other maintenance of the arena. It also extends the deadline for USIF to submit to the county plans for the future of the Coliseum and the Nassau Hub. During that time, the county will not issue a notice of default if the rent is not paid.