RXR Realty and BSE Global, which operates NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, have agreed to build and finance a $1.5 billion project with housing, retail and office space on 72 acres around the arena now largely covered in asphalt, company executives said Tuesday.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is expected to seek legislative approval of the plan as soon as October, administration officials said.
Administration officials also said they are in talks with the Mount Sinai Health Network, which has formally expressed interest in building a 100,000-square-foot medical research facility on the site.
The site, also known as the Nassau Hub, is the last major tract of undeveloped land in Nassau County.
"This is the first time, in the 20 years I've lived in Nassau County, that we can move forward on real development at the Hub," said Curran, who has made developing the county-owned property a cornerstone of her administration.
RXR would be named “master developer” of a project that includes 500 units of housing; 600,000 square feet of office and biotech research space; 200,000 square feet of “experiential retail”; two pedestrian bridges; bus rapid transit to the Long Island Rail Road; and 3,400 parking spaces, including two parking garages.
BSE Global, formerly known as Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, holds a 49-year lease to the property where the Coliseum is located. Any surrounding development must complement or be compatible with the Coliseum, according to the lease agreement.
BSE Global chief executive Brett Yormark said he has wanted to redevelop the property since the $180 million renovation of the Coliseum ended last spring. Yormark said he hosted a meeting with about a dozen developers before selecting RXR for the joint venture.
"The real vision for the Hub is to make it destinational. To create dynamic retail around the Coliseum that complements the business we're in," Yormark said. "It's about live, work and play — that's the kind of environment we're trying to create here."
BSE and RXR officials said they will include in the venture another company with expertise in attracting and operating retail and entertainment destinations.
"Ultimately, the vision of what's going to be built there is going to incorporate the Coliseum. The Coliseum is the integral part of what gives energy to the project," said RXR chief executive Scott Rechler. "The success of the Coliseum site is key to the vibrancy of the area and frankly all of Nassau County."
Rechler said the plan does not require a zoning change from the Town of Hempstead — a major stumbling block to past efforts to redevelop the Hub property.
County officials for years have sought to redevelop the flat, sprawling property located off the Meadowbrook Parkway in Uniondale.
In 2004, New York Islanders owner Charles Wang proposed the Lighthouse Project that included a renovated sports arena, 2,300 housing units, 1 million square feet of office space, 500,000 square feet of retail and a luxury hotel. Rechler was involved with Wang as a partner.
The $3.8 billion plan ultimately was rejected by the Town of Hempstead, which objected to the scope and size of the project. Wang eventually moved the Islanders to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Curran, who took office Jan. 1, has called for "a re-imagining" of the Hub property, in light of a proposal to build a new $1 billion arena for the Islanders at Belmont Park.
In June, the administration issued a Request for Expressions of Interest, to solicit ideas from developers. The county received 17 proposals before its Aug. 17 deadline.
Under the new plan, buses would connect to the Mineola and Hempstead LIRR stations, while pedestrian bridges will connect to nearby RXR Plaza to the south and the Omni building, also owned by RXR Realty, to the west. Those properties could provide additional parking spaces for events, Rechler said.
About $85 million in state funding is available to build parking structures on the site. Also, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center owns and operates an outpatient facility on the southwest corner of the property.
Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, who has been a vocal supporter of developing the Hub, said she "was not privy to the discussions" with BSE and RXR but endorsed any plan not requiring a town zoning change.
"I'm 100 percent supportive of having a plan that is moving forward," Gillen said.
The hockey team is expected to split its next three seasons between Barclays and the Coliseum until its new arena proposed for Belmont Park is completed in 2021.
Arthur Klein, president of The Mount Sinai Health Network, said: "We have a great deal of interest in establishing a research center in Nassau County."
Based in Manhattan, Mount Sinai has 23 research institutes. "We would need to make sure that it aligns with our research goals and the ability to attract new talent."
HUB REDEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT
RXR Realty and BSE Global on Tuesday announced a $1.5 billion plan to redevelop 72 acres around NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. The proposal includes:
- 500 housing units
- 600,000 square feet of office and biotech research space
- 200,000 square feet of “experiential retail”
- 3,400 parking spaces, including two parking garages
- Bus rapid transit to the Mineola and Hempstead LIRR stations
- 2 pedestrian bridges connecting to adjacent RXR properties
Sources: RXR Realty; BSE Global