Wang and Murray to meet on Lighthouse project

Islanders owner Charles Wang speaks to the Town Islanders owner Charles Wang speaks to the Town of Hempstead about the Lighthouse Project. (Sept. 22, 2009) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Lighthouse developer Charles Wang has accepted Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray's offer to have both sides meet to discuss modifying the proposed mega project, town officials said Monday.

Murray's invitation to Wang -- her third since Oct. 2 -- came in a letter sent Thursday. Monday she received a letter from Wang agreeing to meet.

Both Wang and Murray have said they're not going to discuss details of the negotiations publicly. Murray has said she hopes the two sides can find "commonality" in "scaling down" the project.

The Lighthouse Development application, first submitted to the town in November 2007, requests new zoning for a mixed-use 42-building community surrounding a renovated Nassau Coliseum. The plan would include shops, housing, a convention facility, a sports technology center and a five-star hotel.

Murray has said several questions remain unanswered about such issues as water, traffic and the number of buildings, even after a Sept. 22 public hearing and the developers' completion of a 4,000-page final environmental impact statement.

Wang, who also owns the New York Islanders, has said since the town didn't give him "certainty" by the deadline he imposed -- Oct. 3 -- he is also exploring other options for the team and the Lighthouse project. Suffolk, Queens and Brooklyn have surfaced as possible relocation sites.

According to a lease with Nassau County, the Islanders must play atNassauty, the Islanders must play at Nassau Coliseum until 2015.

However, there is a provision under which Wang could break the current lease. If the environmental impact statement gets town approval, the County Legislature would be required to vote on a new lease -- already signed by Wang and County Executive Thomas Suozzi -- within 120 days. Lacking such a vote, Wang could break the current lease.

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