Mangano seeks developer for Nassau Hub

The Nassau Coliseum is at the center of The Nassau Coliseum is at the center of the plan. (July 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is seeking a private developer for the Nassau Hub, including the 77 acres surrounding Nassau Coliseum, according to Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz.

Mangano is preparing a Request for Qualifications, or RFQ, for the Uniondale site, Rabinowitz, who is co-vice chairman of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, said in an interview after the council's meeting Tuesday.

"He intends to get a developer on board in the near future," Rabinowitz said. He and council co-chair Kevin Law met with Mangano on Monday.

Rabinowitz said the Hub could win crucial council backing for state aid "if the plan is clear and becomes riper than last year."

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin would not confirm the plans.

"The county executive expects to have news by the month's end," Nevin said.

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Ed Ward, an aide to Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), said he knew Mangano was preparing an RFQ for release on Jan. 17.

Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the county legislature's minority leader, said the plan sounded encouraging, adding that he supports Hub development if it's not "at the taxpayers' expense."

The news comes nearly six years after Islanders owner Charles Wang and developer Scott Rechler won then-County Executive Thomas Suozzi's Request for Proposals. Their Lighthouse project died when the Town of Hempstead deemed it too dense.

Wang has said the Islanders will not stay at Nassau Coliseum past the end of their lease, in 2015. He has called the town's less-dense zoning plan "economically unviable." But Rabinowitz and Law said any developer would have to work within the zone.

Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker and Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery did not return calls.

Law and Rabinowitz said any redevelopment should include keeping the hockey team on Long Island.

"Whatever plan Ed comes up with, I hope it includes retention of the New York Islanders. It is very important to have a professional sports team on Long Island," Rabinowitz said.

Garden City developer Jan Burman, however, said if a new RFQ included an arena, the same issues would remain, such as the high cost of structured parking and the advantage Wang might have if he bid.

But with slightly better economic news on the horizon, the RFQ's timing might be good, said Burman, who bid on the RFP in 2005 and is now president of the Association for a Better Long Island, a development group.

John Durso, who heads the New York Federation of Labor, welcomed the RFQ plans.

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"I'm hopeful that this time, something will come of it," said Durso, a council member. "We can no longer afford the stalemate that has gone on all these years."

With Robert Brodsky

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