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May 16, 2011

Islanders arena plan must convince rest of humanity

Newsday, which apparently is willing to drop its paywall if you're reading on a phone (or just pretend to be), has a good rundown of the hurdles facing the new New York Islanders arena, and they are legion:

  • The $400 million plan must be approved by Nassau County voters, which is no slam dunk, despite an August 1 referendum date seemingly picked to ensure low voter turnout, which would benefit a get-out-the-vote campaign by construction unions.
  • Two-thirds of the county legislature would need to vote for the financing plan, and right now even the Republican majority isn't entirely on board. "We don't need to have a contract in place," county comptroller George Maragos told Newsday. "We just need a good understanding of the revenue sharing and why it is beneficial to the county."
  • The Nassau Interim Finance Authority "represents perhaps the biggest hurdle," according to Newsday. George Marlin, a board member of the agency that took over the county's finances in January, told the paper: "I have a fiduciary obligation to examine and study the proposal and make sure the assumptions are based on reality and not pie in the sky hopes. And if it does not meet reality, then as a fiduciary, I have no alternative but to seriously consider not approving such a project."

In all three cases, it sounds like the key will be whether Islanders owner Charles Wang can make a case that the arena financing numbers will add up — or at the very least, explain what they are. Wang told Newsday: "We'll do everything we can to make it work, get the information out, make people understand what the alternatives are, and we'll keep working at it." HTH


If the voters approve it, I really think this one will go through. One thing we have seen throughout New York is a real interest in tourism dollars, and casino gambling, coupled with conventioneers is one way of doing this. Massive hotel construction, $1.4b train stations (See Fulton St), Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Barclays Center, MSG rebuild, Lincoln Center, even the $100m Ferry Point Golf Course and the Loews Kings Theatre renovation in Brooklyn, are examples of this. I suspect that there is a deal already in the works between Republicans & Democrats to get the Casinos up and running at Belmont, and the Mitchel Field project to be complete, in exchange for a Convention Center at Willets Point, and other goodies (Isn't it interesting that after a long period of inactivity, the Van Wyck Expressway ramps were agreed to by the Federal Government and Cuomo Administration?) It is just like what happened between Mangiano, Wang & Kate Murray in this case.

Posted by David Brown on May 16, 2011 02:13 PM

a "destination" site? for whom? l.i.'ers who don't want to travel to casinos/subsidized stadiums that are 2 hours or less away in ct., nj and nyc?
once the construction jobs are done, how many $25K+ jobs will the $400m+ generate?
who's gonna cover the inevitable cost overruns?
with vague pronouncements about this, voters should pull the plug.
remember, the original bonds floated for the meadowlands stadium were not fully payed off when it was demolished.
if the mallpark isn't occupied by a wilpon owned eastern league franchise, the mets and ducks will fight it. doubt that fred has the cash now to buy another minor league franchise (binghamton) and move it, especially into an already crowded market.

Posted by Paul W. on May 17, 2011 07:12 PM

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