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NYC investment firm takes 25% stake in Nassau Coliseum operator

A Manhattan firm, Fortress Investment Group, has taken

A Manhattan firm, Fortress Investment Group, has taken a 25% stake in the company running Nassau Coliseum.   Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

A Manhattan firm that oversees $53 billion in investments for wealthy individuals and institutions has taken a 25% stake in the company running Nassau Coliseum.

Fortress Investment Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Nassau Live, which holds the lease on the Coliseum, according to a resolution adopted Thursday by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

Under the deal, Florida business executive Nicholas Mastroianni II, of U.S. Immigration Fund, a Jupiter, Florida-based company, has reduced his 100% ownership of Nassau Live to 75% but still controls the Coliseum. Fortress owns 25% of the lease, the resolution states.

Mastroianni’s attorney, Peter L. Curry, told the IDA meeting on Thursday that "Fortress sees a real real-estate opportunity here … This is a pretty strong indication that they view [the Coliseum and proposed Nassau Hub redevelopment] as a valuable project."

A Fortress spokesman didn't respond to requests for comment on Friday. The company, started in 1998, manages the assets of 1,800 individuals and institutions across the globe.

Fortress’ investment in the Coliseum comes as construction of UBS Arena in Elmont nears completion. The new arena will be home to the Islanders, concerts and other events that would have previously gone to the Coliseum.

The pandemic shuttered the Coliseum and other entertainment venues beginning in March 2020. It also led Mastroianni to negotiate an agreement with the county where Coliseum rent payments won’t resume until early next year.

In the meantime, developer RXR Realty hopes to begin construction on the parking lots that will surround the Coliseum in the spring. RXR has proposed apartments, offices, research labs, retail stores and parking garages for the 72-acre Hub property.

RXR’s plan is being considered by Hempstead Town. An RXR spokesman declined to comment on Friday.

The IDA had to approve Fortress' involvement in the Coliseum because the county-owned arena has received IDA assistance since 2015.

IDA chairman Richard Kessel said on Thursday: "When an entity like Fortress is willing to put up money to be included in the Hub Project it means the project is moving in the right direction. This is a show of confidence," he said.

Mastroianni's attorney told the IDA that Fortress, RXR and Mastroianni aren’t strangers. For example, Fortress and Mastroianni are investors in a $4 billion project near Times Square that includes construction of a luxury hotel, retail stores and renovations to a Broadway theater.

Mastroianni told Newsday he has a "long-standing relationship" with Fortress and that its involvement in the Coliseum means "we are one step closer to making [redevelopment of the Hub] a reality."

Fortress’ "presence underscores the fact that the Hub is a property of enormous economic potential for Nassau County and the region," he said. "Their role brings additional resources and momentum to ensuring that potential is fully realized."

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran agreed, saying the addition of Fortress "secures financial resources in support of the Coliseum’s operations. While the county granted [Mastroianni] a COVID-period of rent relief, it looks forward to the return of full operations at the Coliseum."

AT A GLANCE

Fortress Investment Group

HQ: Manhattan

What it does: Manages $53 billion in investments for 1,800 rich individuals and institutions

No. of employees: 830

SOURCE: Fortress Investment Group

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