Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced today that Forest City Ratner Companies have been awarded the contract to redevelop the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, beating out the Madison Square Garden Company in a decision that took a few months to reach.
The project is expected to be completely privately financed with the Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner spending at least $229 million to redevelop the Coliseum. They are also expected to pay eight percent of their revenue to Nassau County.
The project is estimated to take 15 months to complete, but it won’t be started until the current lease runs out on Aug. 1, 2015. The new arena will be reduced in size with just 13,000 seats, but it will also include an outdoor amphitheater, a movie theater, a bowling alley, a House of Blues or a Filmore Theater plus retail space.
With the Islanders moving out, and moving to Brooklyn, their AHL affiliate, currently the Bridgeport Sound, is expected to be moved there in their place eventually. The Islanders will also play six games a year there, four regular season and two preseason, and the Nets will also play one preseason game a year there.
In a conversation on CNBC earlier this month, Ratner said they planned on having 300 events per year there including sporting events. He also said that the plan was to model it very similar to the Barclays Center where they focus on getting quality content, having strong customer service, and making it a good looking arena that local citizens will be proud of.
I’m sure none of this makes up for losing the Islanders, but it certainly seems like a quality plan for the area. On top of that, it’s probably good for the Nets because had the Garden company won the bid, the Knicks were rumored to have wanted to move their D-League team there. If that’s not happening it will be easier for the Nets to cultivate Long Island into an area of Nets fans.