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Islanders present $9.5 Nassau Coliseum upgrade plan to IDA

An aerial view of NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum,

An aerial view of NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum, April 5, 2017. Credit: ALL Island Aerial/Kevin P. Coughlin

Representatives for the New York Islanders presented plans for a $9.5 million renovation of NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency Tuesday night.

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which operates the Coliseum and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, submitted an IDA application last month on the Islanders’ behalf. The team, according to the application, is seeking a $400,000 sales tax break for the project, which would allow the Islanders to temporarily return to the Uniondale arena for three years while a new arena at Belmont Park is developed.

The Islanders plan to split their schedule between the Coliseum and Barclays over the next three seasons, playing a minimum of 60 games at their former home arena over that period.

The renovation, meant to bring the county-owned arena up to National Hockey League standards, includes improvements to the facility’s ice rink equipment, upgrades to its heating and air conditioning systems, renovation of the locker room, and the installation of video-cable infrastructure.

Initially, the renovation had been projected to cost $8.7 million. The Islanders are contributing about $3.5 million to the project in addition to a state grant of $6 million. At least part of the estimated cost increase is due to a higher than expected price tag to upgrade the Coliseum’s broadcast structure.

“The broadcast upgrades are going to help us when we bid for NCAA tournaments, wrestling, hockey tournaments, high school, whatever it is, it’s going to help us and give us more flexibility in the future,” said Matt Felker, general manager of the Coliseum. “That’s something that stays with the building.”

The IDA board voted to give the project preliminary inducement approval, meaning the tax aid application will be subject to a public hearing and economic impact study before final approval is given.

“We want the Islanders back,” IDA chairman Richard Kessel said during Tuesday’s meeting. “We want to work with the state to get them back, but it does impact the taxpayers. We have to be very judicious when looking at this. ”

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