Long Island may get yet another arena for the Islanders not to play in

Suffolk County, New York, otherwise known as “the part of Long Island you can only get to by starting in New York City and driving more than an hour east,” yesterday approved a $1 billion development project in Ronkonkoma that will include a 17,500-seat sports arena. Or maybe an 8,000-seat sports arena. Apparently it’s all still up in the air, except that whatever it is, it’ll be great for the local economy, because economies:

“This is entirely tax positive. There is no residential here,” [lead engineer John] Cameron said. “This is an economic engine. A catalyst for growth.”

And if you can’t trust a construction engineer to make economic impact predictions, who can you trust?

Cameron said his company had been contacted by a sports league about using the arena, which could mean anything. (Note that he didn’t even say “pro” sports league, at least not as ABC7 reported it.) The Islanders, for their part, immediately dismissed any interest in playing in eastern Long Island. I suppose it’s conceivable that a Suffolk County arena could survive just on selling concert tickets to Long Islanders who don’t want to make the shlep into the city, or drive an hour in Long Island traffic to Nassau Coliseum — though lots of them work in the city anyway, so Nassau Coliseum would just be a stop on the way home. Building a sports arena makes more sense with a sports team to play in it, is all I’m saying, unless the developers plan to ditch or massively downsize the arena aspect down the road after using it to get Suffolk County’s attention, which is entirely possible.

Anyway, what the hell the developers’ business plan is should matter less to Long Island taxpayers if they’re not on the hook for any costs, and no subsidies have been reported thus far — though Long Island Business News does note that “it has yet to be determined whether the property and the additional 40 acres of compost site will be sold or ground-leased for the redevelopment effort.” But surely they’ve at least agreed on a price for the land, right? Right? Tune back in for any further reports that filter in from the far-flung province of eastern Long Island.

8 comments on “Long Island may get yet another arena for the Islanders not to play in

  1. I used to live on Long Island ( East Meadow), and this idea is beyond stupid. You need as many people as possibleand ( or) top flight concerts and ( or) sports to make the Arena work ( this includes people from Nassau County ( not to.mention Western Suffolk), Guess what? People in Nassau and Western Suffolk are either going to the Coliseum, taking the train to the City to go to MSG or the Barclays Center, or will be going to Islander Games in Elmont because what they prefer ( not to mention an easier commute) can be found at those facilities, instead of the “D-List” acts that will come to Suffolk. If it happens ( which I doubt) Suffolk will be very sorry

  2. I could see a 5k or maybe even 8k arena that hosts Stony Brook U’s hockey team and MAYBE an ECHL team work…..maybe.

    But honestly I would prefer the water I drink to not slowly give me cancer……Long Island politicians make me sad.

  3. Best headline ever.

    The Ronkonkoma Islanders has a nice ring to it I think. Are we sure this isn’t the opening salvo in a war to steal the Liberty from Manhattan (or whatever warehouse space they’ve been forced to play in this summer)?

    As noted above by others, a 6-8k arena seems to make more sense for an area like this… but let’s hope the price won’t be $1bn regardless of whether an arena or anything else gets built, or whether the arena has max capacity of 18,000, 8,000 or maybe 3,200 spectators.