County gets 2 bids to develop Nassau Hub

An aerial view of the Nassau Coliseum/Mitchell Field

An aerial view of the Nassau Coliseum/Mitchell Field Complex in Uniondale. (May 11, 2011) (Credit: Kevin Coughlin)

Nassau County has received two bids to build an enclosed sports and exposition center at the Mitchel Field Athletic Complex in Uniondale -- the first major development in the Hub region in more than a decade, county officials said.

Both proposals would privately finance an athletic complex that would bring in revenue for the cash-strapped county, said Brian Nevin, spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano. Details on the cost of the projects, and the revenue they would bring in, were not made public.

County officials will make a decision between the two bids by the end of the month and construction could conclude by the end of 2012, Nevin said.

"For the last 10 years, there has been no economic development at the Hub," Mangano said. "This marks that change and the first step in spurring job growth and economy activity at the Hub."

The last major development at the Hub was Museum Row in the 1990s.

The dueling proposals each call for a year-round multipurpose athletic field but otherwise offer different visions for the 2.5-acre property.

One bid from the Long Island Rough Riders soccer team envisions an outdoor 3,000-seat soccer stadium. The Rough Riders, who plays home games at Saint Anthony's High School in South Huntington, would return to Mitchel Field after a six-year absence, according to the plan.

The proposal also features a 10,000-seat indoor exposition center with locker rooms, a merchandise store and a physical therapy center.

"It's the best of both worlds," said Rough Riders president Peter Zaratin, pointing to the mix of outdoor and indoor options. "And it would be great if we can have a facility we can call home."

The outdoor facility, Nevin said, could be used for lacrosse, football and exhibitions.

"It would be a stadium that could bring in other minor league franchises and . . . outdoor concerts," Zaratin added.

The other bid came from Nassau Sports and Events LLC, composed of a group of investors led by Garden City businessman Mickey Blum.

The group proposed a nearly 106,000-square-foot facility, including a 60,000 square feet of synthetic turf, basketball and volleyball courts, a rock-climbing wall and a fitness studio. The facility also would have an arcade, laser tag, batting cages, stores, meeting and party rooms, and a cafe, Nevin said.

"It's a tremendous opportunity," Blum said. "I think the county needs a facility like this for youth all the way through adults. It can be a family oriented place."

The facility is expected to create 50 full-time jobs and host trade shows, conventions, exhibitions and parties, Nevin said.

The Mitchel Field project is separate from any development at the Nassau Coliseum. Efforts to redevelop the 77 acres surrounding the Coliseum are ongoing, Nevin said.

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