Building the New Coliseum1. What is the upcoming public vote all about?
On August 1, the County Executive’s Economic Development and Job Creation Plan for the area at Nassau Coliseum will be voted on by residents in a County-wide public referendum.
The referendum allows our residents to decide whether we should build a sports-entertainment destination. At the same time, voters will decide the fate of the Islanders who face the potential of having to leave Nassau County in 2015 when their lease expires should a new sports arena not be built. Ultimately, residents will decide whether they wish to invest in the future of our County.
The site would become a magnet for further economic development and will help to restore Nassau County’s financial health and civic pride.
2. What does the plan include?
The construction of a new sports arena, which, in part, hosts hockey season from October to April annually and a minor league ballpark stadium that hosts baseball season from April to October. This approach generates jobs and revenue year round. It is the seed of growing a sports-entertainment destination center in Nassau County.
The new Coliseum will also host a wide array of first-rate family shows and musical acts, including the circus and large-scale exhibitions. Other various improvements made to the surrounding area may involve the properties at Museum Row and the former Navy property near Nassau Community College.
3. What are the benefits of the plan?
The creation of 1,500 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs for Long Islanders. Those are jobs for you, your family and your neighbors. Jobs for construction workers, electricians, masons, steel workers; and permanent jobs in the industries that the development would grow like hotels and restaurants and other businesses that would need to create new positions to handle an influx of business.
New revenue streams created by the new sports and entertainment complex to the tune of $1.2 billion will fill the county coffers and benefit tax payers. Islanders owner Charles Wang, in a unique partnership with the County will completely pay off the new arena, and there will be $403 million in profit for Nassau County.
4. Why are we doing this?
The aging Coliseum is no longer competitive with the other brand new sports complexes and conference centers around the region and nation. Our residents don’t want to see the Coliseum shuttered, people losing their jobs or the loss of economic benefits currently derived from our hotels, restaurants and stores.
5. Why are we doing it August 1 and not on Election Day?
Over the past decade, several options have been explored to keep our Islanders and build a new sports arena. Unfortunately, all of these proposals failed and our County is now at a crossroads.
The time to design and construct a new arena by the lease expiration of the Islanders is quickly closing. In order to complete design and construction by 2015, design must begin in 2011 and construction must commence in 2012.
Also, we feel that it would give college students – who represent Nassau’s future – an opportunity to invest in it by being home to vote.
Any County legislators who publicly oppose and vote against the plan should be held accountable come Election Day.
6. What if we do nothing?
The consequences of inaction are no longer maintaining the status quo. Without Long Island’s only professional sports team as its anchor tenant, the Coliseum would likely shut down. The loss of the Islanders would result in higher unemployment as well as significant losses of sales tax revenue County derives from ticket sales, hotel stays from visiting teams and fans, and consumer purchases made at the Coliseum and in nearby restaurants, hotels and stores.
7. What happened to Wang's Lighthouse project?
After 10 years and millions of dollars spent, the Lighthouse project proposal is off the table. After extensive studies conducted by the developer and overwhelming community support, political jockeying killed the project.
8. How will revenue be generated from the plan?
With resident approval, taxpayers will enter into a partnership with the County, Islanders and the minor league ballpark by providing the financing for capital improvements and the establishment of a world-class sports-entertainment destination center. This means the County will receive a negotiated portion of the revenues of each dollar generated at the new facilities - from ticket sales, parking, concessions, etc. Moreover, all contracts to operate County-owned facilities in the Hub will require operators to compensate the County. This revenue sharing payment requirement, coupled with sales tax generated from the new facilities, will produce revenue that exceeds the financing required to construct the job. Although not yet finalized, the agreement is expected that the contract will have a minimum revenue component.
9. How much is it going to cost?
To construct a new Coliseum and enhance the surrounding area an investment of up to $400 million is necessary. Nassau residents will need to invest in the building for the three years it takes to construct the arena. Once the building is completed, the revenue streams generated will begin to pay residents back. Residents will receive 11.5 percent of every dollar that comes into the building, which includes everything from concert tickets, parking fees, hot dogs, Islanders tickets, etc. With a new building more concerts and family shows will make it a point to stop in Nassau County, all revenue that will help payback the taxpayer.
10. What about development of the rest of the 77 acres?
The County Executive formed an Advisory Committee to suggest additional job development opportunities that can be realized in developing the surrounding property. Once the referendum is approved, Nassau County can signal to the economic development community it is prepared to create a sports-entertainment destination center. Many developers are now expressing INTEREST IN building on the site.
11. How will contracts to perform the necessary work on the new arena and ballpark be awarded?
To ensure true transparency, all contracts for design and construction within the Hub will be subject to review by the County Legislature, Independent Office of Budget Review, Office of Management and Budget, and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA). This extensive four-body review and approval process insures each publically financed project within the Hub is openly and fully reviewed prior to spending any dollars of the referendum. All review bodies will have an opportunity to evaluate the costs, as well as the operational and sales tax revenue to be generated by each project.
12. Has there been interest from minor league baseball teams?
Yes, several. In an effort to fast-track these economic development opportunities, COUNTY EXECUTIVE MANGANO initiated the process to attract a minor league baseball team to the Hub by issuing a Request-For-Proposals (RFP) from interested team operators. Later this month, the proposals will be reviewed by an independent committee who will recommend a team/operator.
The Administration will review the recommendation and forward it to the Office of Management and Budget Review, who will then forward the recommendation to Legislature and Office of Independent Budget Review. If approved by the County Legislature, it will be sent to the County Comptroller, County Attorney and NIFA for review. Once returned, the RFP will be executed by the Administration.
The ballpark will provide an opportunity for competitions with the Long Island Ducks in Suffolk.
13. Are you still planning on putting a casino at the Coliseum site?
No, I have instead brought together stakeholders to develop a plan that establishes an Indian gaming casino at Belmont Park. This economic development opportunity will also create thousands of jobs andsignificant revenue for our State, County and the local community. This joined with the exciting economic development opportunities unfolding on the former Grumman- Navy property in Bethpage wherehomeland defense and film and television jobs are emerging as new industries in Nassau County. The redevelopment of the Hub, coupled with the development of Belmont Park to the west and Grumman- Navyproperty to the east is the catalyst Nassau County needs to stimulate our economy and create jobs and opportunities for our generation and future generations.