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Onexim may hand over control of Coliseum lease to its lender

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Onexim Sports and Entertainment, the company that operates Nassau Coliseum through its subsidiary Nassau Events Center, may hand over control of the arena and the Nassau Hub development to its lender, the U.S. Immigration Fund.

In a statement released on July 14, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said that “discussions are progressing” about the future of the Coliseum and Hub development between the county, Town of Hempstead, NEC, USIF and Onexim’s development partner RXR Realty.

According to Curran’s statement, USIF would “step into the shoes” of NEC and Onexim would cease ownership of the Coliseum and exit plans for developing the 72 acres surrounding it, known as the Nassau Hub.

“As a result of these discussions, the parties are on a path to bring the New York Islanders back to the Coliseum for the 2020-21 season,” Curran said.

Scott Rechler, the chairman and chief executive officer of RXR Realty, said in a statement that the dialogue with Onexim was “constructive” and he is “confident that the Coliseum will be ready for the return of the New York Islanders for the 2020-2021 season.”

And Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said in a statement that he is “thrilled about the positive news related to the arena’s future.”

The dialogue came roughly a week after Nassau County sent a Notice of Default to Onexim, demanding the company pay $2 million in overdue rent in 15 days or risk forfeiting its lease. If Onexim fails to pay the $2 million, it would result in an “event of default” and mean that the county could terminate its lease.

The lease accounts for an additional 30 days in which NEC’s leasehold lender, USIF, could “step into the tenant’s shoes” and satisfy the rent payments before the county could end the lease.

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.

Roughly a month ago, Onexim first announced that it was searching for a new party to take control of the Coliseum and would keep the Uniondale arena shuttered until then.

According to a statement provided by Onexim, the Coliseum saw a “devastating effect” from the loss of revenue usually acquired from New York Islanders hockey games, in addition to canceling all planned concerts and events.

“We are engaged in a productive conversation with all the stakeholders,” read a statement from Onexim explaining the decision. “We are hopeful that we will soon be able to announce a resolution that will satisfy the needs of the community while taking into account the new realities that we are all facing in light of the pandemic.”

Onexim declined to comment on the discussions about handing over control to USIF.