The Nassau Coliseum and the sprawling property around it in Uniondale....

The Nassau Coliseum and the sprawling property around it in Uniondale. An agreement that transfers the lease to Las Vegas Sands is making its way through the county approval process. Credit: ALL Island Aerial/Kevin P. Coughlin

The most significant proposal in recent years to redevelop the site of the Nassau Coliseum is poised to move further through the local approval process this month.

Las Vegas Sands' agreement to lease the county-owned property, announced April 26 and approved by the Nassau Planning Commission a day later, is expected to advance to the legislature's Rules Committee on Monday before moving to the full legislature May 22.

Newsday obtained a copy of the 175-page lease between Sands and the administration of County Executive Bruce Blakeman through the state's Freedom of Information Law. The 99-year agreement addresses the company's primary goal: developing a $4 billion casino resort on the 72 acres in Uniondale, a plan that hinges on securing a state gaming license.

The lease also specifies what could be developed if the license falls through, what cannot be put on the property and what happens if the company abandons the project. A program for community benefits and a deadline for determining the fate of the 51-year-old Coliseum are included as well.

Here are some frequently asked questions and what both sides have agreed to:

The lease permits Sands to build a 500-room hotel, with a 24-hour reception area with a concierge as well as dining, valet parking, a pool, a fitness center and suites, and a licensed casino with an entertainment venue with at least 3,600 seats. It allows Sands to sublet space to other vendors and transfer the lease to another tenant under certain conditions.

County and Sands officials say they hope to build the community and political support needed for a state gaming license. The application process could go through 2024, according to state officials, but control of the site is critical in the application, which has a $1 million fee. Even without a casino license, Sands is legally bound to build on the property if the county agrees to transfer the lease. According to the agreement, a non-gaming development would include a 200-room hotel branded as a Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis or similar caliber that would have a 24-hour reception, a concierge, dining, valet parking, a pool and a fitness center; an entertainment venue with at least 3,600 seats; and up to 500 residences, some of which may include workforce housing units.

Under the lease, Sands cannot store or sell dangerous or hazardous materials. It also cannot sell paraphernalia for the use of illegal drugs, pornographic materials or cannabis regardless of whether it is legal. The lease also does not allow multi-player video gaming and contains an lengthy clause that prohibits “big box” retail stores in excess of 45,000 square feet, or any logistics or warehouse uses. In other words: no Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ikea, Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club and the like would be built on the Coliseum site. 

Sands woud be allowed to reassign the lease to a company with a net worth of at least $500 million that agrees to pay all Sands' obligations under the lease. Sands could make such a move without the county's consent or approval of the legislature.

However, if Sands wins a gaming license and operates a resort with a casino, the company is not allowed to transfer the lease before substantial completion of construction of the full casino.

Within five years of implementing the lease, Sands and the county must decide on the fate of the historic Coliseum. According to the lease, if Sands is not consistently using the Coliseum, the county could ask Sands to demolish it at Sands' cost. In the lease, the county would request the Coliseum be demolished if it does not generate at least $30 million in revenue or book at least 30 public events in a calendar year. 

Sands has agreed to pay for and build a monument, memorial or other tribute to U.S. military veterans at a cost of $1 million or more. 

Sands also has agreed to build a 1,500-square foot police substation with parking area for eight police vehicles. The substation would be similar to the county police's Third Precinct substation at 1500 Old Country Road in Westbury. Sands would reimburse the county up to $500,000 toward the cost and expense of the interior construction.

The lease requires a community benefits program designed to ensure Sands helps the surrounding area, with a focus on communities in need and  those traditionally underrepresented in the workforce. The plan would support public entities such as fire departments and districts and ambulance service providers, school districts, libraries and library districts, athletic fields, ballfields and parks, with at least 40% of the total value of the benefits directly providing for the residents of Uniondale. 

A five-person advisory committee representing the Nassau county executive, the legislature's majority caucus, minority caucus, the Town of Hempstead supervisor and the Hempstead Town board would decide on the community benefits.

The most significant proposal in recent years to redevelop the site of the Nassau Coliseum is poised to move further through the local approval process this month.

Las Vegas Sands' agreement to lease the county-owned property, announced April 26 and approved by the Nassau Planning Commission a day later, is expected to advance to the legislature's Rules Committee on Monday before moving to the full legislature May 22.

Newsday obtained a copy of the 175-page lease between Sands and the administration of County Executive Bruce Blakeman through the state's Freedom of Information Law. The 99-year agreement addresses the company's primary goal: developing a $4 billion casino resort on the 72 acres in Uniondale, a plan that hinges on securing a state gaming license.

The lease also specifies what could be developed if the license falls through, what cannot be put on the property and what happens if the company abandons the project. A program for community benefits and a deadline for determining the fate of the 51-year-old Coliseum are included as well.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Las Vegas Sands is closer to taking over the Nassau Coliseum property, with its lease agreement headed to the county legislature.
  • Gaining control of the site is critical to Sands' application for a highly competive state gaming license.
  • Sands' 99-year lease includes stipulations for what it can and cannot develop on the property, the future of the Coliseum, a community benefits program and what happens if the company abandons the development. 

Here are some frequently asked questions and what both sides have agreed to:

What is Sands allowed to do with the property?

The lease permits Sands to build a 500-room hotel, with a 24-hour reception area with a concierge as well as dining, valet parking, a pool, a fitness center and suites, and a licensed casino with an entertainment venue with at least 3,600 seats. It allows Sands to sublet space to other vendors and transfer the lease to another tenant under certain conditions.

What happens if Sands does not win a gaming license? 

County and Sands officials say they hope to build the community and political support needed for a state gaming license. The application process could go through 2024, according to state officials, but control of the site is critical in the application, which has a $1 million fee. Even without a casino license, Sands is legally bound to build on the property if the county agrees to transfer the lease. According to the agreement, a non-gaming development would include a 200-room hotel branded as a Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis or similar caliber that would have a 24-hour reception, a concierge, dining, valet parking, a pool and a fitness center; an entertainment venue with at least 3,600 seats; and up to 500 residences, some of which may include workforce housing units.

"... If the Gaming License Condition is not satisfied, Tenant shall forthwith prepare comprehensive development drawings, site plans, design plans, and other plans and specifications showing all additions, reductions, improvements and all other physical changes to any portion of the Premises ..."Source: Lease agreement between Nassau County and Las Vegas Sands

What is Sands prohibited from doing with the property? 

Under the lease, Sands cannot store or sell dangerous or hazardous materials. It also cannot sell paraphernalia for the use of illegal drugs, pornographic materials or cannabis regardless of whether it is legal. The lease also does not allow multi-player video gaming and contains an lengthy clause that prohibits “big box” retail stores in excess of 45,000 square feet, or any logistics or warehouse uses. In other words: no Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ikea, Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club and the like would be built on the Coliseum site. 

"Tenant agrees to not use nor allow ... Any sale, offering for sale, or display of any of the following: Paraphernalia for or related to the use of any illegal or other illicit drug or substance ... Cannabis ... Pornographic materials ... Any use or activity that is morally offensive in the reasonable determination of the Landlord ... "Source: Lease agreement between Nassau County and Las Vegas Sands

What if Sands no longer wants to hold the lease? 

Sands woud be allowed to reassign the lease to a company with a net worth of at least $500 million that agrees to pay all Sands' obligations under the lease. Sands could make such a move without the county's consent or approval of the legislature.

However, if Sands wins a gaming license and operates a resort with a casino, the company is not allowed to transfer the lease before substantial completion of construction of the full casino.

What happens to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum? 

Within five years of implementing the lease, Sands and the county must decide on the fate of the historic Coliseum. According to the lease, if Sands is not consistently using the Coliseum, the county could ask Sands to demolish it at Sands' cost. In the lease, the county would request the Coliseum be demolished if it does not generate at least $30 million in revenue or book at least 30 public events in a calendar year. 

"Tenant shall have the right to (i) make additions, reductions, improvements or any other physical changes to the Improvements, (ii) demolish the Improvements or any portion of the Premises ..."Source: Lease agreement between Nassau County and Las Vegas Sands

What are some other things the two sides agreed to? 

Sands has agreed to pay for and build a monument, memorial or other tribute to U.S. military veterans at a cost of $1 million or more. 

Sands also has agreed to build a 1,500-square foot police substation with parking area for eight police vehicles. The substation would be similar to the county police's Third Precinct substation at 1500 Old Country Road in Westbury. Sands would reimburse the county up to $500,000 toward the cost and expense of the interior construction.

"Tenant agrees that it shall construct, at Tenant’s expense, an appropriate monument, memorial, or other tribute to veterans of the armed forces of the United States of America (the “Memorial”), at a total cost of not less than One Million Dollars ..."Source: Lease agreement between Nassau County and Las Vegas Sands

The lease requires a community benefits program designed to ensure Sands helps the surrounding area, with a focus on communities in need and  those traditionally underrepresented in the workforce. The plan would support public entities such as fire departments and districts and ambulance service providers, school districts, libraries and library districts, athletic fields, ballfields and parks, with at least 40% of the total value of the benefits directly providing for the residents of Uniondale. 

"Tenant shall undertake a community benefits program designed to ensure that Tenant helps address the needs of the surrounding area ... no less than 40% of the total value of the benefits conferred under the Community Benefits Program shall be used for initiatives directly benefitting the residents of Uniondale ..."Source: Lease agreement between Nassau County and Las Vegas Sands

A five-person advisory committee representing the Nassau county executive, the legislature's majority caucus, minority caucus, the Town of Hempstead supervisor and the Hempstead Town board would decide on the community benefits.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Sands’ lease needs approval from the Nassau County Legislature and the following committees:

Planning Commission, approved April 27

Rules Committee, meets Monday

Nassau County Legislature, meets May 22

Sands also needs to clear these hurdles, with dates to be determined:

Local five-member community advisory committee

Town of Hempstead zoning board

State site selection panel

State gaming license

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