Moving one step closer to the reality of the Lighthouse Project, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi announced a lease agreement between the Lighthouse developers and the County today.
Along with Lighthouse Principals Charles B. Wang and Scott Rechler, Presiding Officer of the Nassau County Legislature, Diane Yatauro and Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink, Suozzi described the provisions of the lease as “unique for the United States of America.”
“This project would be a sign to the people of the entire region that Nassau County is open to business,” said Suozzi, calling the project a “catalyst” for New Suburbia.
The Islanders current lease agreement keeps them on Long Island until 2015. Under the new lease, the Islanders would continue to play on Long Island until 2030. In addition, the Lighthouse would feature a new Nassau Coliseum costing the developer $320 million, and generate jobs, create housing options and a destination point for Long Island.
Under the terms of the new 99 year lease, the developers would pay $1.5 million annually in rent to the County, build 20 percent of the housing stock as Next Generation housing, commit $55 million to transportation and infrastructure improvements, and Nassau County would no longer assume the financial burden of maintaining the site. The project would generate millions in tax revenue for the County, Town and Uniondale school district.
“This is a $4 billion investment for the future of the people of Long Island,” said Suozzi. “It’s the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time.”
While it was clear that the lease was a positive step in the approval of the Lighthouse, Suozzi stressed that this agreement was not enough and that the lease was contingent on approval from the Town of Hempstead Board.
“We have now come to a point where we can move forward. We now need the Town of Hempstead to move forward,” he said.
Nassau County Planning Commission Chairman Jeffrey Greenfield also announced the Commission’s commitment to the Lighthouse project.
“[The Lighthouse] was on the agenda for the Planning Commission today, but we could not take action because we did not have all the paperwork from the Town of Hempstead, specifically the Environmental Impact Statement,” Greenfield said. “Our next meeting is on the 15th, we will put it on the agenda and we will vote on it that day.”
Wang has designated October 3, the start of the Islanders’ season, as the deadline for certainty from the Town of Hempstead before he starts exploring other options.
“Come October 3, it is either yes or no,” said Wang. “Now is not the time to be negotiating.”
“Come October 3, the Islanders don’t walk away,” said Suozzi. “Come October 3, he [Wang] is going to explore other options to find someone more welcoming than the Town of Hempstead.”
While Wang has stated that he will explore other options, he made it clear that Long Island is where the Islanders belong.
“Nassau County residents and Long Islanders are clamoring for the tax revenue, housing options and jobs the Lighthouse will bring,” said Wang. “Long Islanders have shown their overwhelming support for the project and the time for it to happen is now.”