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Nassau County could get $100 million from state for Coliseum Hub project, source says

Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, which closed its doors

Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, which closed its doors in August 2015, will be undergoing a $261 million renovation. Credit: Kevin Coughlin

Nassau County could get $100 million from the state to transform the property surrounding the Nassau Coliseum into a multiacre biotech park built atop an underground parking garage, according to a source familiar with the state deliberations.

In September, County Executive Edward Mangano requested $225 million from the state to transform 25 acres of blacktop parking around the Coliseum into a “green” economic center.

Mangano’s proposal includes $121.9 million to build a 2,700-spot parking garage on the western portion of the Hub property. Two floors of new biotech office space would be built on top of the parking structure, which would also feature “green” infrastructure such as a landscaped rooftop.

Mangano is also asking the state for $18.4 million to construct three pedestrian bridges from the Hub: one over Hempstead Turnpike would link to RXR Plaza and Kellenberg Memorial High School; another at Earle Ovington Boulevard would link to Hofstra; and a third across Charles Lindbergh Boulevard would connect with Nassau Community College.

The source said Thursday that the state likely would green-light about $100 million to pay for a scaled down parking garage and the pedestrian bridges.

Additional requests by the county for $50 million for Bus Rapid Transit system and $34.9 million to build a four-acre outdoor plaza south of the arena would likely need to come from a separate pot of money, the source said.

“The parking structure is the most critical project in Nassau,” said the source.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo did not respond to a request for comment on the funding request.

The 2016 state budget includes $400 million for “transformative” projects on Long Island and downstate although Cuomo has yet to announce how he will distribute the funds.

Earlier this month, Cuomo announced that he had separately approved $50 million in his 2016 budget for a proposed Center for Bioelectronic Medicine at the Hub. The $350 million center would sit atop the parking garage and be run by the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

In a speech Thursday in Woodbury to real estate executives, Mangano said the Hub project “would create a new economy for us in the area of bioelectronics.”

Mangano also touted the $260 million privately funded redevelopment of the Coliseum and the construction, expected to begin later this year, of an adjacent retail and entertainment center.

Earlier this month, Mangano told a business group that the reopening of the Coliseum could be pushed back from mid-December 2016 until the first quarter of 2017 because developer Bruce Ratner had faced delays in reaching a deal with local labor unions to begin work on the arena.

But at a lunch Thursday hosted by the Real Estate Institute, Mangano said late December is still a possibility.

“I aggressively believe they will open up in December of this year,” he said. “And that still remains a possibility ... It could be December.”

Ratner has targeted the Coliseum reopening for no later than Dec. 10 when the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team is scheduled to play Hofstra University in the first game at the renovated arena. A clause in the Hofstra-Kentucky contract calls for the game to be moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn if the Coliseum is not ready.

Mangano also noted Thursday that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will spend at least $140 million to build an outpatient treatment and research facility on the southwest portion of the Coliseum property.

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