Nassau request for Hub garage funds trimmed

Nassau County has issued a request for qualifications Nassau County has issued a request for qualifications for coordinating the construction of a new or renovated arena along with housing and retail at the central Nassau Hub. (May 11, 2011) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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Nassau County's bid for state money to construct parking garages at the Hub won a key endorsement Tuesday but not for the sum requested.

The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council recommended $500,000 be given for a feasibility study of the garages and uses for the 65 acres surrounding Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The council also suggested that $500,000 won for Hub redevelopment in last year's state contest go toward the study.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano had asked the council to seek $10 million in state funds for planning and construction of garages, which would accommodate 6,500 vehicles. The project's total cost exceeds $150 million.

Despite the cut in his request, Mangano Tuesday welcomed the council's support, which is a precursor to receiving help from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. "This is another step forward toward maximizing economic growth opportunities at the Hub," he said.

The garages would liberate about 50 acres for a research and development park designed for companies involved in robotics, health care and technology in a proposal from Plainview developer Renaissance Downtowns. As many as 10,000 people could eventually work there.

Council leaders Tuesday said they support replacing acres of asphalt with businesses and other uses but they want a detailed plan before requesting more from Albany.

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"What and who would inhabit the Hub besides the Coliseum?" said Stuart Rabinowitz, council co-vice chairman and Hofstra University president. "Who would pay for the $150 million that the parking facility would cost?"

He added, "All we are saying is, 'We love your idea, and why don't you go out and hire a world-class planner . . . who can tell us what the best use would be" for the land adjacent to the aging coliseum.

Last month, Mangano selected Forest City Ratner Cos. to remake the coliseum in a $229 million project. A Forest City spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

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