Construction on the Belmont Park redevelopment project ground to a halt on March 27, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all “non-essential” construction would stop to maintain social distancing. The project was expected to be completed in time for the 2021-22 hockey season.
In his announcement, the governor defined essential construction as projects that are “necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow it to remain undone.” That includes work on bridges, roads, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals, health care facilities, affordable housing and homeless shelters.
The Belmont Park project includes the construction of an 18,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders, a 250-room hotel, a community center, commercial office space and 350,000 square feet of retail space.
“We support Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to eliminate the COVID-19 virus,” Lou Lamoriello, Islanders president and general manager, said in a statement, calling Cuomo “the driving force behind the construction of the Belmont Park arena."
“The progress that has been made since the groundbreaking is truly incredible, and is a credit to all of the construction workers that have been there every day,” Lamoriello continued. “Those workers are all part of our community, and we want them safe and healthy.”
As of last month, almost all of the arena’s foundation had been completed, and Anthony Lopez, senior project manager for the Manhattan-based Sterling Project Development, said he expected the majority of the steel and the roof to be installed by the summer.
“By the summertime of this year,” Lopez vowed at the time, “you’re going to see a fully developed building.”
A new substation to power the arena was also about 60 to 70 percent complete at the end of February, according to Peter Montalvo, associate project manager of PSEG, and construction on a new full-time Elmont Long Island Rail Road station was expected to begin in the spring. LIRR officials have been working on the station’s design since last fall, Hector Garcia, the railroad’s senior director of external affairs, said, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved a $65 million contract for the station’s construction at the end of January.
The south platform, serving eastbound trains, was to be completed by October 2021, with the north platform finished a year later.