Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano joined the developers of the upcoming Nassau Coliseum restoration Wednesday to tout plans for a new facade and at least seven restaurants for the $229 million project.
Brooklyn-based developer Bruce Ratner and Edward Blumenfeld and David Blumenfeld, president and vice president of Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group, fielded questions from an audience of about 200 small business owners at a breakfast sponsored by Action Long Island, a Melville-based business advocacy group.
"As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, this will be to Nassau," Ratner said of the redesign for the Coliseum's exterior featuring a metallic facade designed by SHoP Architects. The company designed the exterior of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which Ratner developed.
Mangano, a Republican who is running for re-election against former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat, said the Coliseum project will help generate future development in the surrounding Hub area. In September, the county legislature unanimously approved a lease with Nassau Events Center LLC, a subsidiary of Ratner's Forest City Ratner Companies.
"We're thrilled the project is moving ahead," Mangano said. "Obviously, it's an important economic engine and quality-of-life venue, and we're working to create a real destination there."
Mangano said the county has applied for $10 million in state grant money to build multitiered parking on the site, to free up land on the 77-acre Hub area that otherwise would contain surface parking.
"This sets the foundation for us to achieve . . . creating a high tech, bio-tech and sports medicine center on the remaining parking area," Mangano said.
Ratner and Blumenfeld Development Group plan to reduce the number of seats inside in the arena from the current 18,000 to 13,000, and will build an outdoor entertainment district featuring restaurants, a bowling alley and shops. The deal calls for Nassau to receive a minimum of $4.4 million annually -- a figure that would increase by 10 percent every five years.
Ratner said Wednesday that the development group is considering including a "food hall" in the entertainment district. Ratner said it would be similar to Eataly on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan's Flatiron District, which features restaurants and food markets housed in one building.
Edward Blumenfeld said they were planning to bring in "at least seven restaurants." Asked if local restaurants would be included, Blumenfeld said, "Our goal is to provide restaurants that run the gamut."
Ratner and Blumenfeld pledged to use union labor on the project.