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IDA commissions study of Nassau Coliseum's economic viability, COVID impact

The NYCB Live / Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

The NYCB Live / Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on the afternoon of June 16, 2020. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

The economic potential of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum after the coronavirus pandemic is the subject of a $68,000 study, officials said.

The county’s Industrial Development Agency has hired Camoin Associates, an upstate research firm, "to develop an economic-impact analysis post COVID and review any proposed plan for sustained Coliseum operations," said IDA executive director Harry Coghlan.

The report, costing up to $68,110, could have as many as four parts if authorized by the IDA.

The Coliseum, once home to the Islanders, has been shuttered since spring when all nonessential activity was shut down by New York State to slow the virus’ spread. Nassau recently agreed to allow the new leaseholder not to pay rent until six months after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Coghlan said the IDA study was in response to concerns by some agency board members that the Coliseum will not be economically viable once the Belmont Park Arena opens in Elmont for Islanders’ games and other events.

In August, IDA assistant treasurer John Coumatos was the sole "no" vote when the IDA approved transferring tax breaks to the new leaseholder, Nick Mastroianni II of U.S. Immigration Fund in Jupiter, Florida, from Mikhail Prokhorov of Onexim Sports and Entertainment in Manhattan.

Coumatos, who owns a restaurant in Bethpage, said at the time, "I just don't get how financially the Coliseum can last another 15 years … Going forward, we're in a cloudy area right now."

The IDA study is expected to examine Mastroianni’s plan for the Coliseum.

IDA chairman Richard Kessel said last week the study will determine the economic damage to the Coliseum from COVID-19 "and how we can help assist the county in dealing with this" and further development of the Hub.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran welcomed the IDA study.

"I remain committed to ensuring a sustainable plan for the Coliseum and seeing the transformation of the surrounding acres of pavement move forward — while staying nimble and finding solutions to the many challenges this pandemic year has brought the property, including the shutdown of the entertainment industry," Curran said Tuesday. "This study will provide the county and our partners with further insight on the economic recovery we can expect in the post-COVID period."

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