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Refurbished Nassau Coliseum will keep its name

Nassau Coliseum on Sept. 21, 2013. Some would

Nassau Coliseum on Sept. 21, 2013. Some would like a proposed gambling parlor to go into it after its renovation. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, set for a massive renovation next summer, will retain its name, according to the project's developer.

Brett Yormark, chief executive of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, who will oversee the Coliseum project, said he will instead sell the naming rights for the sports and entertainment complex that will surround the arena, preferably to a firm with Long Island roots.

Project developer Forest City Ratner Cos.' proposal for the 77-acre Uniondale property includes a 2,000-seat indoor Fillmore Theatre, an amphitheater, up to seven restaurants, a bowling alley, a movie theater, an ice-skating rink and retail space.

The centerpiece of the $229 million project is a refurbished 13,000-seat arena that will feature minor league hockey, professional lacrosse, boxing, college basketball and Arena Football League games.

And while the Coliseum's facade will change, Yormark said the arena will maintain the only name it's had since the building opened in 1972.

"We wanted to be respectful of the community," Yormark said. "Keeping the existing name is the right thing to do."

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said retaining the Coliseum's original name "honors our nation's heroes."

Yormark said he's been in discussion with multiple companies, including some based on Long Island, that are interested in purchasing the naming rights to the project.

Forest City Ratner, he said, wants to select a company with a "lifestyle brand" that appeals to Long Island's active lifestyle. Examples include fashion or fitness-based corporations.

"We are looking for companies that have a legacy on Long Island," said Yormark, who noted that local ties are preferred but not a requirement.

The selected company's name will precede the words "Sports and Entertainment Village" on the marquee, he said.

A decision on the naming rights is expected in the spring.

Yormark declined to discuss the price tag for the project's naming rights.

Nassau gets 8 percent of the naming rights deal, Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said. A "morals" clause in the county's contract with Forest City Ratner prevents any "outrageous" names, but Nassau does not have veto power over the decision, he said.

Forest City Ratner must still submit a development application to the Town of Hempstead for the project. The application will include a conceptual master plan for the property that focuses on the size and placement of buildings, roads, parking and open space, according to town spokesman Michael Deery.

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

Construction will begin in August after the New York Islanders finish their final season at the Coliseum before moving to the Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season. It is expected to take about 15 to 18 months.

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