The board of Empire State Development has unanimously approved an $85 million grant to pay for two parking garages at the Nassau Hub to free up land for medical research facilities.
The action, taken last week, moves redevelopment of acres of asphalt parking lots around Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum one step closer to reality, officials said.
The grant is still subject to a public hearing and consideration by another state board, the Public Authorities Control Board. But officials said Monday that they don’t expect a last-minute veto in Albany.
“I’m not concerned because . . . it has the support of the state Senate, the governor’s office and others, and their appointees make up” the control board, said Long Island Association president Kevin Law, who advocated for the money.
The garages, which will free up 19 acres, will have about 3,400 parking spaces. On top of one garage would sit a proposed $350 million Center for Bioelectronic Medicine, to be operated by Northwell Health.
“This is a giant step closer to transforming the concrete jungle surrounding the Coliseum into an innovation economy,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said in an interview.
He added, “The only way to redevelop and access those acres to create jobs and opportunities is to replace the surface parking with structured parking, and every spot that you replace opens up for redevelopment.”
Separately, the Hub will also be home to an outpatient treatment and research facility run by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
The grant for the Hub garages was included in the 2016-17 state budget and is part of $550 million secured by the Island’s nine state senators in the 2015-16 budget for “transformative projects.”
The senators had argued that Nassau and Suffolk counties didn’t receive enough of a $5.4 billion state surplus from national banking settlements.
The Hub is among 17 projects recommended for this funding a year ago by an eight-member group that included Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
The first project to be approved by Empire State Development was $25 million for a Center for Therapeutic Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.