A significant portion of a planned $31.5 million spending increase for the Nassau Coliseum redevelopment will fund amenities for entertainers that could include exercise bikes and golf simulators, developers told Nassau County legislators this week.
"Some of them like to have 'SoulCycle' bikes. Others like to have golf simulators," James Lester, a senior vice president at Forest City Ratner Companies, the project's developer, told county lawmakers Monday.
"It's unfortunate," Lester said. "Why do you have to invest so much in the rock stars who are already getting so much? But these are the top people who you want coming to your venue. It's important."
The county legislature on Monday approved a lease amendment allowing Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, led by Bruce Ratner, to use $90 million in foreign financing to redevelop the Coliseum site in Uniondale. In exchange, Ratner said he'll increase his investment from $229 million to $260.5 million.
Besides the artist area improvements, the added money will be used to expand restrooms, construct a "grand" entryway to the arena and improve food services.
The legislature on Monday declined a request from Uniondale civic activists to require Ratner to pledge $10 million for improvements in surrounding communities. A Ratner spokeswoman said that, while the company has not agreed to "off-site" projects, it will provide benefits to the Uniondale community, including discounted tickets and jobs and internships at the Coliseum.