When I tried to do some quick-and-dirty estimates last week of how much of a sweetheart deal the New York Islanders owners will be getting on state-owned land at Belmont Park for a new arena, I came up with a discount of anywhere from 52-87%. (Or, put another way, the land is likely worth anywhere from double to eight times what the Islanders are paying for it.) Now, Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report has come up with another comparable to use as a basis for estimating the land’s true value: a 67-acre parcel at nearby (sort of) Aqueduct Park that was leased to a video lottery terminal company starting in 2010. Oder shows all his math in his own post, but let’s cut to the final numbers that count here:
Aqueduct: $189,055 per acre each year
Belmont: $18,984 per acre each year
So the Islanders owners’ consortium will be pay almost precisely one-tenth per acre what racetrack land on the other side of Queens went for seven years ago. That’s not enough to definitively say “Islanders should be paying ten times as much for arena land as they are” or anything, but the more data points we get here, the more we can say that this proposed lease looks real bad for taxpayers, man. And that’s before even getting to those Long Island Railroad costs.