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Silence surrounds Lighthouse project

Islanders owner Charles Wang speaks to the Town

Islanders owner Charles Wang speaks to the Town of Hempstead about the Lighthouse Project. (Sept. 22, 2009) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

>>UPDATE: Click here for the latest on this story, "Wang: Lighthouse is still on, report is wrong"

It appeared Wednesday night that anyone associated with the Lighthouse project was in hiding.

Even Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi said he couldn’t get a call back from the developers.

The silence descended after an online report asserted that billionaire Charles Wang is pulling the plug on the Lighthouse project, almost two weeks after his Oct. 3 deadline for “certainty” from the Town of Hempstead that the development would go forward.

The Long Island Press, citing an unidentified source, reported on its Web site that Wang is reorganizing his team and assigning staff to other projects.

Among those who did not return calls were Lighthouse representatives Paul Lancey and Katrina Doell, Lighthouse president Michael Picker and partners Wang and Scott Rechler.

But one person close to the developer who would not speak for the record — not Wang himself — told Newsday Wednesday night the project has not been abandoned.

Representatives of the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County did return calls — to report that they were unaware of any change in the Lighthouse proposal.

Asked about the online report, Suozzi had this to say: “Has Charles called me to say he’s pulling the plug? No. I hope it’s not true. I’d be upset if we lost such a great opportunity.”

And the spokesman for the Town of Hempstead, which must approve the zoning for the project and sign off on its environmental impact, said town officials also had not been told of any change.

“We have no knowledge of this other than what’s been published” online, town spokesman Michael Deery said.

The reports come on a day when a Newsday/News 12 Long Island/Siena Research Institute poll showed that a majority of Long Islanders support the Lighthouse, a $3.7 billion effort to extensively renovate Nassau Coliseum and develop the 150 acres around it into 42 buildings containing office, retail and residential space. The Lighthouse Web site was updated Wednesday with links to the Newsday report.

Wang has said that he is looking for certainty from the Town of Hempstead, which has yet to approve the final environmental statement and the zoning for the project.

Two weeks ago, he said he was no longer willing to negotiate the size or scope of the project. But even when his Oct. 3 deadline for “certainty” passed, Wang said he would continue to work with the town to push the project through, even as he explored options such as moving or selling the team.

Suozzi remained in the Lighthouse developers’ corner last night, saying he’s “hopeful that the developers are still committed to this project. We need for the Town of Hempstead to give them an answer. . . . We should be rolling out the red carpet to get something done.”

>>UPDATE: Click here for the latest on this story, "Wang: Lighthouse is still on, report is wrong

Poll: Majority of LIers back Wang's Lighthouse proposal

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Lighthouse project proposal

PHOTOS: Charles Wang's Lighthouse project plans

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