In case you were wondering, “Hey, is anybody in Nassau County working on a new arena plan for the Islanders?” why, yes, they are: County executive Ed Mangano issued a request for qualifications on Sunday for developers interested in building on the Nassau Coliseum site, and Nassau Democratic Party chair Jay Jacobs has now introduced his own competing arena plan.
In case you’re wondering whether either of these guys has figured out how to pay for an arena, not so much: Mangano would leave that up to the developers, while Jacobs proposes that the Islanders put up $320 million of the construction cost, while the other $80 million comes out of admission taxes, which currently generate about $1.5 million a year for the county’s general fund. (This would go up to $2.65 million a year with a new arena, according to county projections, which, um, still isn’t nearly enough to pay off $80 million in bonds.)
Given that Islanders owner Charles Wang’s last proposal was that the county put up all the money and he’d pay it back from arena proceeds, if there are any, neither of these sounds all that likely to warm Wang’s heart. But where there are talks, there’s hope — and hey, if some guy in Seattle thinks that he can build and run an arena mostly with private money, maybe it could work in the continent’s biggest media market, too.