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Dueling proposals for Elmont's Belmont Park

An aerial view of Belmont Racetrack in Elmont.

An aerial view of Belmont Racetrack in Elmont. (May 11, 2011) Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

Two Nassau County developers have proposed a 28-acre retail and recreation center at Belmont Park in Elmont, including a supermarket, stores, restaurants, a community center and a public soccer field.

The plan, which is privately financed, was submitted in January to the state's Empire State Development Corp. by the Engel Burman Group, based in Garden City, and Basser-Kaufman, of Woodmere.

Steven Krieger, a founding partner with the Engel Burman Group, said Elmont residents have no large-scale supermarket in their community and few choices about where to eat and shop. Local civic groups, he said, also lack space to hold meetings and could use a new 7,000-square-foot community center.

"This is a development that meets the needs of the community in terms of having a supermarket and a community center," Krieger said. "And the soccer field would be available to the public 365 days a year. I think we are covering all the bases."

The New York Cosmos -- a revived soccer franchise -- has submitted a competing proposal to build a 25,000-seat outdoor stadium, a 175-room hotel, restaurants, retail stores and a public park on the same site near Belmont Racetrack.

The Empire State Development Corp., which issued a request for proposals last September to develop the Belmont property, will make its decision by late spring. State officials did not respond to requests for comment on the latest proposal.

Several retailers are interested in the site, including Stop & Shop, ShopRite and Target, which is eyeing the location for a new 135,000-square-foot retail store, Krieger said.

The development also would include three restaurants, a bank and a regulation-size soccer field that could seat between 2,000 and 3,000 spectators. The field could be used by high schools, youth leagues and for county championships, Krieger said.

"This plan is a game changer," said Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont), who supports the proposal. "And it's more in line with what people in the community have been asking for. Right now, people in Elmont need to travel to Franklin Square to visit a full-scale supermarket."

Pat Nicolosi, president of the Elmont East End Civic Association, said "this plan serves the need of the community and gives us what we want."

Solages and Nicolosi argue that major stadiums do little to provide jobs and revenue to the community at large.

Cosmos officials declined to comment on the competing proposal. But team spokesman David Hochman said their plan "is uniquely transformational, requires no taxpayer dollars, creates nearly 3,000 jobs, and turns underutilized land into an economic generator."

State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), who is supporting the Cosmos plan, declined to comment on the alternative proposal.

The newest plan does not call for development on the 8-acre northern section of the property, where the Cosmos envision retail, restaurants and a hotel. The Request for Proposals did not allow for residential development.

Krieger and one other bidder pitched their ideas Monday to the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development, event organizers said. Details of the other proposal were not immediately available.

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