Nassau Coliseum makes food service vendor switch

Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on Sept. 21, 2013. Forest City Ratner and Legends Hospitality, the food service company that was pitched as the meals vendor at the soon-to-be renovated Nassau Coliseum, have ended their business relationship. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Forest City Ratner and Legends Hospitality, the food service company partly owned by the New York Yankees that was pitched as the meals vendor at the soon-to-be renovated Nassau Coliseum, have ended their business relationship.

Ratner will instead use the food and beverage firm now operating at the Barclays Center.

Levy Restaurants, which has provided meals and drinks at the Brooklyn arena since it opened in 2012, will replicate those services at the Coliseum, said Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center.

Yormark said Legends pitched itself as a "premium" player that would operate only in select venues. But he said it became a "volume player" that operates at Yankee Stadium, the Prudential Center in Newark and a host of universities and smaller venues.

Levy operates at only one arena in the New York region -- the Barclays Center -- and can provide the Coliseum greater attention, Yormark said. "It comes down to philosophically what's in the best interest of the Nassau Coliseum," he said.

Yankees president Randy Levine said Legends was an "integral" part of Ratner's winning bid to renovate the Coliseum.

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Levine said Barclays officials provided "representation" during the Coliseum bidding process that Legends also would be in line to win the Barclays Center food and beverage contract. But he said Barclays officials ignored their calls for months. When the Barclays Center renewed its contract with Levy last week, Legends dropped out of the Coliseum deal, Levine said.

"We were not confident the project was being handled in the way we are accustomed to," Levine said.

Levy will sign a three-year contract at the Coliseum. The firm, Yormark said, will use predominantly local restaurants that "speak to the community in Long Island."

Ratner's $229 million proposal calls for a renovated 13,000-seat arena, a 2,000-seat indoor theater, an outdoor amphitheater, up to six restaurants outside the venue, an ice-skating rink and retail space. Yormark said a deal to sell the Coliseum naming rights should come by year's end. Ratner has also launched efforts to finance the renovations and is in discussions with the Town of Hempstead to secure necessary approvals, officials said.

Construction will begin next summer after the New York Islanders depart to play at the Barclays Center and will take 15 to 18 months to complete.

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