Nassau lawmakers Monday will consider a proposed settlement with the New York Islanders to use $4.5 million that the team had paid the county for its failed Lighthouse development to help pay for a new practice facility at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.
The plan would resolve a dispute between the county and the team without court action.
If a county legislative committee approves it Monday, the full legislature will vote on the deal at its July 13 meeting.StoryIslanders to build $5.1M practice facility in Nassau
County Executive Edward Mangano and Islanders owner Charles Wang announced this month that the team would spend $5.1 million to turn a portion of Nassau's Cantiague Park into new practice and office space, and would host several open practices and autograph sessions there each year.
Most of the Islanders' investment will come from a county account holding three $1.5 million payments Wang had previously made to secure exclusive development rights to the 77-acre Nassau Coliseum site.
"Those funds, and an additional $600,000, will be utilized to enhance the Cantiague Ice Rink and avoid litigation over the dispute of these funds," the team said in a statement.
The Islanders claimed they had a right to reimbursement of the $4.5 million. County Attorney Carnell Foskey said the settlement will create a public-private partnership to "improve and enhance the recreational offerings at Cantiague, maintain a county connection with the New York Islanders and continue to offer the residents of the county a connection to, and interaction with, a professional sports franchise."
Wang and his development partners had wanted to spend $3.8 billion to renovate the Coliseum while building thousands of new retail, hotel and housing units on surrounding land. That project, dubbed the Lighthouse, stalled after the Town of Hempstead, citing its density and potential negative environmental impact, withheld its required zoning approval.
Wang is moving the Islanders to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this year and Bruce Ratner, who built Barclays, is preparing to start a $261 million renovation of the Coliseum. His plan calls for a downsized arena alongside a movie theater, restaurants and other entertainment options.
Without the Islanders at the Coliseum, the Cantiague facility will represent the franchise's only tie to the county. The team, which will pay Nassau $2.42 million in licensing fees, plus other revenues, over the next decade, expects to start practicing there on Dec. 31. Renovations are expected to be completed in February 2016.
The settlement states that the Islanders will release their claim to the $4.5 million upon full completion of the new practice facility and office space.