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Ratner to submit Coliseum development application to Hempstead by year's end

Developer Bruce Ratner describes his plans for the

Developer Bruce Ratner describes his plans for the Nassau Coliseum to about 100 people at a meeting of the Long Island Association in Melville Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Developer Bruce Ratner will submit a development application to the Town of Hempstead before the end of the year -- the next step in his plan to transform the Nassau Coliseum and its surrounding blacktop into a sprawling sports and entertainment complex, company officials said.

Ratner's team has met with a group of seven senior staffers from the town, including Building Department Commissioner John Rottkamp and Ray Mineo, chief of staff to Town Supervisor Kate Murray, to iron out details of the application, town spokesman Mike Deery said.

The application will include a conceptual master plan for the Uniondale property that focuses on the size and placement of buildings, roads, parking and open space.

The application must be approved by the GOP-controlled Hempstead Town Board.

The meetings, Deery said, are designed to help streamline the application process and ensure that Ratner's proposal conforms to the town's zoning.

"The board would then be able to vote based only on the merits of the plan," Deery said. He also said no major roadblocks have cropped up in the meetings.

Barry Baum, spokesman for the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn arena built by Ratner, said the developer has submitted draft plans to the town and is preparing its final application.

"We have an incredibly productive relationship with the town and are grateful for the technical guidance and general support for moving this forward," Baum said.

A more detailed building and demolition permit will be submitted to the town building department after the plan clears the six-member town board.

Construction is expected to begin in August after the Islanders finish their final season at the Coliseum before moving to the Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season.

Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Cos., has said construction will take 15 to 18 months.

Ratner's $229 million proposal calls for a 13,000-seat arena, a 2,000-seat indoor theater, an outdoor amphitheater, up to seven restaurants, a bowling alley, movie theater, an ice-skating rink and retail space. The arena currently seats 16,000 spectators.

The refurbished arena will feature minor league hockey, professional lacrosse, boxing, college basketball and Arena Football League games. The Islanders will play a combination of six preseason and regular-season games at the new Coliseum.

Nassau will receive 8 percent of all annual revenue generated by the Coliseum each year, including from tickets and concessions, and 12.75 percent of parking. The company has guaranteed Nassau a minimum of $4.4 million in the first year and a total of $334 million over the life of the 49-year lease.

Ratner also will pay the county 8 percent of the gross revenue from new entertainment facilities surrounding the arena or a minimum of $400,000 a year -- whichever is greater.

The GOP-controlled Nassau County Legislature and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board in control of the county's finances, approved the plan last year.

Ratner also is seeking to sell naming rights to the new arena. Company officials have said a condition of any deal is that "Veterans Memorial" remain in the name.

"We are actively pursuing a naming rights partner and hope to have it done by the end of the year," Baum said.

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