Developers to offer new Nassau Hub plan

The exterior of Nassau Coliseum (July 15, 2011) The exterior of Nassau Coliseum (July 15, 2011) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Four of Long Island's largest developers are planning to offer a joint proposal to privately redevelop the 77-acre site surrounding Nassau Coliseum.

The quartet -- which met with County Executive Edward Mangano last week -- plans to craft a plan to revamp the Nassau Hub, regardless of whether the New York Islanders stay at the Coliseum, said Garden City developer Vincent Polimeni.

"It could be a tremendous home run," Polimeni said of the plan, which will be formulated if and when a request for proposals to develop the site is filed by Nassau County.

Mangano will discuss his plans for the Hub at a meeting with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the next two weeks, although he declined to elaborate. The county executive said last month that he would produce a new proposal in coming weeks.

"The clock is ticking," Mangano said. "We are at another crossroad to bring people together to build up the Hub."

Separately, the county issued an RFP last week to build an exposition center at nearby Mitchel Field in Uniondale.

Polimeni is partnering with Garden City developer Jan Burman, Syosset developer Ed Blumenfeld and Jericho developer Mark Hamer. All four are members of the Association for a Better Long Island, the real estate group that opposed a failed referendum last year to build a publicly funded Nassau Coliseum. Polimeni, Burman and Blumenfeld bid on the Coliseum property in 2005, but lost to New York Islanders owner Charles Wang.

"The Hub with the Islanders and with the Coliseum is a needed thing on Long Island," Blumenfeld said. "The Hub without the Islanders can be an economic engine also."

The quartet's effort is not contingent on the Islanders remaining in Nassau, Polimeni said.

But Wang has a right of first refusal, Burman said. "It's a situation where he really controls the site until 2015," when the team's lease at the arena expires, Burman said.

Wang has said he won't stay at the Coliseum past 2015. Last week, the team announced it will play a preseason game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Barclays officials have said they want the Islanders to play in Brooklyn permanently.

Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker did not return calls for comment.

The developers' coalition hasn't drafted anything specific, but any effort would require the Town of Hempstead's support, Polimeni said.

Town spokesman Mike Deery said town officials are willing to speak with the county and developers.

The Nassau Legislature will hold a Feb. 14 hearing on the future of the Hub.

The county will seek state funding for Hub infrastructure improvements, Mangano said.

In an interview with Newsday last week, Cuomo encouraged Nassau to submit a proposal in the second round of state Regional Economic Development Council grants, in which up to $1 billion will be distributed for shovel-ready projects. "That is where the money is," Cuomo said.

Last year, the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council said Nassau's effort to build a biotech park was not far enough along.

This year, the Hub could be better positioned to compete for the cash, said Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz, the council's co-vice chairman. "A sound plan to develop the Hub could have a profound effect on the economic development of the entire region," he said.

The best of Newsday everyday in your inbox. Get the Newsday Now newsletter!

You also may be interested in: