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Officials stress jobs, growth as Nassau Coliseum plans unveiled

Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. (March 13, 2013)

Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. (March 13, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Nassau business and elected leaders said the four Nassau Coliseum revitalization proposals unveiled Thursday all signaled the opportunity to draw jobs and money to the area, but most held off on naming a favorite plan.

"Clearly there is a success story in one of these proposals," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said after the developers made their pitch to his Business Advisory Council.

The privately financed proposed projects include a $229 million restoration by developer Bruce Ratner, a $250 million overhaul by Madison Square Garden Co., a $180-million newly built facility by Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group and a $60 million to $90 million redesign of the Coliseum's interior spearheaded by local developer Bernard Shereck.

Mangano did not signal a preference, but said the key to the county's decision-making process would be picking a project that is a "realistic, practical, financeable development that will move the county forward."

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos, while calling all four proposals "viable options," said Ratner's proposal "seems to be the most attractive, including having the most events."

Kevin Law, who sits on Mangano's advisory board and serves as president of the Long Island Association, a regional planning group, said the key would be selecting a project that "really makes Nassau County a real destination center."

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said town officials had not yet reviewed the proposals, but said she was "impressed with the quality of the developers."

Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the Nassau legislature's minority leader, said: "We believe the Coliseum site is Nassau's best hope for a transformative project that will move this county forward."

Donald Monti, chief executive of Renaissance Downtowns, a Plainview firm selected by Mangano to develop the land around the Coliseum, said it was "premature" to comment on the plans. Monti has announced plans to build a $2 billion biotech park and mixed-use development in the area.

"We believe it is essential that the overall vision for the arena should complement the remainder of the 77-acre redevelopment opportunity in a manner that will maximize the creation of job opportunities and economic development for the last large tract of developable land in the county," Monti said.

With Robert Brodsky, Randi Marshall and Sid Cassese

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