Mangano gives Wang time on Nassau Hub plan
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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has offered Islanders owner Charles Wang an exclusive period to come up with a privately financed plan to redevelop the 77-acre Nassau Hub before the county seeks other options for the site.
"I look forward to receiving a privately financed plan for a new Coliseum from the New York Islanders," Mangano said.
In the absence of such a plan, "we will have no choice but to go in a different direction," said Deputy County Executive Rob Walker.
Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker told a county legislative committee Tuesday that he hopes the county and the team can develop a plan for a new arena funded with public and private money.
But Picker said in an interview that if the county were to put the site out for public bidding, Wang likely would not participate. "We would have to evaluate it, but I don't think so," Picker said in an interview.
Wang has said the Islanders won't play at the Coliseum past 2015, when the team's lease with Nassau expires.
Picker said the team is exploring several options for relocating the team but declined to be specific. Officials in Suffolk, Queens and Brooklyn, where the Islanders will play a preseason game in October, have expressed interest. "We are exploring many options and looking at many different arenas," Picker told Newsday.
A quartet of Nassau's largest developers announced last week that they would offer a joint proposal to redevelop the Hub, with or without the team.
Mangano has said he will release a new vision for the Hub after meeting in the next few weeks with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The latest moves toward a new Coliseum and a redevelopment plan for the area come after several failed efforts.
Wang was the winning bidder on the privately financed Lighthouse Project, a mixed commercial and residential proposal for the Hub area in central Nassau that failed to garner enough community support.
Voters in August rejected a publicly financed arena to replace the Coliseum.
County and Islanders officials told the Economic and Community Development and Labor Committee that they are considering an arena financed by private and public dollars, including state, federal and potentially county funds.
But Picker said the priority must be on deciding the fate of the Islanders and protecting the 2,300 jobs dependent on activity at the Coliseum.
Team and county officials agree that a decision on the Coliseum must be made quickly, given the upcoming expiration of the Islanders' lease.
Walker said the county must have shovels in the ground before the end of the year. The county, he said, would be willing to sign a one-year lease extension with the Islanders if the sides need additional time to hammer out the details.
Kevin Law, a co-chair of the Economic Development Council, told the hearing Tuesday that a deal can't be struck without compromise by all.