Murray calls Wang about 'amending' Lighthouse plan

Lighthouse developer Charles Wang, left, talks with Hempstead Lighthouse developer Charles Wang, left, talks with Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray before a meeting in the summer. (June 2, 2009) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray said she phoned Charles Wang on Friday afternoon requesting a meeting to discuss "amending" the proposed Lighthouse project.

Murray said that Wang - who could not be reached for comment Friday - was amenable to a meeting and said he would call her on Monday or Tuesday to schedule one.

Murray's call came one day before Wang's self-imposed deadline for significant progress on the development project that includes a renovation of the Nassau Coliseum and one day after Wang and partner Scott Rechler said they are no longer willing to change their plans to develop the land around the coliseum.

Murray, a Republican, said she was "delighted" Wang agreed to meet. She said she reiterated to Wang during the conversation that there were still unanswered questions about traffic, water and the exact number of buildings planned for the site. And then she asked if there was "room for discussion."

"We had a frank conversation and talked about the project," Murray said in an interview on Friday. "I'm looking to promote development, I'm not looking to close the door on anything. I asked about the possibility of amending the project and exploring options."

" 'I'll always have a conversation with you,' " Murray said Wang told her.

Murray said that when Wang asked if the call meant a "thumbs up or down" - something he's been asking for since March when he set an Oct. 3 deadline - she told him that there wouldn't be a decision on Saturday.

Murray declined to say whether she would ask Wang to scale down the project or detail her own vision for the site.

"I'd like to negotiate that with the developers," she said, "not in the press."

Early last month, Murray said she cannot meet with any developer to talk about proposed projects. "The problem comes if I would have a private meeting with every developer, where is the public in that meeting?" she said in that story.

On Thursday, Wang and Rechler said the time for negotiations had passed and they wanted a "yes or no" answer by Saturday.

Their remarks came during a joint announcement with Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat, about a proposed lease both parties agreed upon for development of the 77 county-owned acres.

Neither Rechler nor Suozzi could be reached Friday for comment.

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