Here’s the latest proposed timeline for the New York Islanders‘ new arena project next to Belmont Park, courtesy of Newsday’s Jim Baumbach:
What we know re Islanders/Belmont:
– Isles/Barclays discussing interim arena plans. NHL open to Coliseum. Decision likely in matter of weeks.
– At Belmont, environmental review process to start in March, expected to last "year-plus," after which Isles are "formally" designated.
— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) January 8, 2018
As Metro NY notes, if the team can’t break ground on the arena until mid-2019, then it might not open until fall of 2021 or even 2022, which would mean a bunch of years playing in an interim home, likely at Nassau Coliseum.
None of this should be any surprise: It’s a project on state land, so has to go through the SEQR process just like the Nets‘ Brooklyn arena did, and that’s a year-plus timeline. If anything, I’d think the arena development group may need the time to get their financing ducks in a row — it’s possible they’ve lined up private loans and such already, but also possible they were leaving that until after they had formal approval to build at the Belmont Park site — not to mention figure out who’ll pay for increased train service to the arena, and how much they’ll pay in payments in lieu of taxes to the state, and how much of a break on the land costs they’ll get courtesy of state taxpayers. Oh wait, that last one is already determined: a whole heck of a lot. One hopes that this year-plus break will give local reporters the time to investigate the deal to see what the likely public costs will actually be, but one doesn’t hope all that hard, given past performance.