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Developer Bruce Ratner told more than 100 Long Island business leaders on Tuesday that site plans to renovate the Nassau Coliseum will be submitted to the Town of Hempstead in less than two months – the next step in his $229 million arena makeover.
Ratner, the executive chairman of the Forest City Ratner Cos., was awarded the rights last year to overhaul the Uniondale arena and develop an entertainment complex on its surrounding land.
On Tuesday, Ratner told members of the Long Island Association, the region’s largest business group, that construction will begin in the spring of 2015 after the New York Islanders’ lease ends following the 2014-2015 season. The Islanders will then move to Ratner’s Barclays Center the following season.
The Coliseum construction will be completed within 15 to 18 months, Ratner said.
“It will be beautiful,” he said. “It will be noticeable. It will be a real icon.”
Ratner described the proposed interior of the new arena as “theatrical” in its use of lights and colors. “It will feel . . . like a living room,” he said.
Ratner said he has received better than expected interest from restaurants and entertainment-based retailers who want to be part of the project.
“That retail part of the project is going to be superb and surprising,” Ratner said, declining to identify any potential companies. “We have a lot of work to do, but we have got enormous interest, much beyond what I thought it would be.”
Ratner’s plan calls for downsizing the Coliseum and adding restaurants, shopping, a movie theater, bowling alley, a nightclub and an outdoor amphitheater.
Nassau is considering a second phase of the Coliseum development including the proposed construction of a tiered parking lot. Ratner endorsed the phased-in schedule, noting that the project is too large and complicated to execute in one phase.
“If you try to do the whole thing at once, you’ll make a lot of mistakes,” Ratner said.