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Nassau Coliseum exterior overhaul begins in June

Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP Architects, shows a

Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP Architects, shows a sample of the new exterior for the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Work on the new facade is scheduled to begin in late June. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The overhaul of the exterior of the Nassau Coliseum, featuring an intricate aluminum facade designed to evoke Long Island’s coastline, will begin this month.

The exterior project marks a second — and more publicly visible — stage in the $260 million plan by Forest City Ratner Cos. to renovate and downsize the 44-year-old Uniondale arena and build an adjacent retail and entertainment complex. The renovated arena is expected to open in March.

“I want people to think, ‘That’s pretty cool; that’s different,’ ” said Christopher Sharples, a principal at SHoP Architects, which is leading the redesign. “This is a rebirth of the Coliseum. And the show begins the moment you close your car door and walk to to the arena.”

Since the start of the Coliseum project last August, the Brooklyn-based developer has focused on interior renovations, stripping out thousands of seats, replacing plumbing and electrical systems, gutting dozens of bathrooms and removing several tons of asbestos.

Beginning in late June, crews will paint the 85,000-square-foot building black, providing a backdrop to the latticework shell of metal panels that will encase the arena.

A crew of 12 will assemble 200 tons of metallic space frame that will be attached to the Coliseum’s 32 column bays. The space frame requires 32,000 struts and nodes, 40,000 bolts and 20 miles of tubing.

Crews will fasten to the space frame 960 equally spaced vertical fins that will surround the building. Each of the fins will have unique shading, creating subtle differences in the sun and at night, Sharples said.

Installation of the fins is expected to begin in October and will be complete in February, said Rebecca D’Eloia, senior vice president for development at Forest City.

“There will be a wow factor,” said Rich Pellar, president and chief executive of Crown Corr, an Indiana-based company fabricating the components. “We see this as changing the landscape of the Coliseum.”

The flowing metallic design, Sharples said, will evoke images of waves and sandy dunes while the use of dusted aluminum components pays homage to Long Island’s aviation history.

“The iconic facade represents a wave of new entertainment options for residents of all ages,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said.

SHoP crews performed a segment-by-segment 3-D scan of the arena’s exterior, digitizing every element to ensure the components fit onto the building.

“This is cutting-edge construction,” said John Cerone, an associate principal at SHoP.

Work also is continuing inside the arena, where crews are building a new box office, adding new tiling and doubling the number of locker rooms and artist suites.

The arena’s front entrance has been remodeled, eliminating the old Knuckleheads bar so visitors can look directly into the Coliseum’s bowl as they enter the arena.

The arena ceiling also is being painted black, per the request of concert promoters who want the arena darker, D’Eloia said. Developers also are renovating 10 luxury suites and decommissioning 20 others.

Nassau Coliseum facade

  • 85,000 square feet of exterior concrete to be painted
  • 20 miles of space frame tubing, weighing 200 tons
  • 40,000 bolts and 32,000 struts and nodes
  • 960 vertical fins
  • 4,654 unique folded aluminum fin segments

Source: Forest City Ratner Cos.

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