Nassau County Executive Laura Curran rejected a developer’s proposal to build an entertainment center on a parcel of land outside Nassau Coliseum as she pursues a new plan to develop the entire 77-acre property.
Curran on Thursday declined to lease an 11-acre parcel to Blumenfeld Development Group. The company wants to build an “arena district,” which would include an indoor entertainment complex, restaurants, retail, open space, and, eventually, office space and housing.
Facing a Monday deadline on the lease extension, Curran told Ed Blumenfeld and other principals of the Syosset firm of her decision during a meeting Thursday, administration officials said.
Blumenfeld officials objected to the decision.
Gary Lewi, a spokesman for the company, said “history was repeating itself,” noting the decadeslong struggle to decide on a project to build on the property.
“As the development community weighs whether to respond to this latest chapter at the Hub the more sophisticated players know that BDG [Blumenfeld Development Group] submitted a transformative plan to the Nassau County Legislature that received bipartisan praise, Hempstead Town support and that BDG is now obligated to consider all of its options in the days to come,” said Lewi.
Asked whether the company was planning legal action, Lewi said, “We are exploring all options at this time.”
Earlier this month, Curran brought the property back into debate when she called for a “re-imagining” of the Hub site — the last major tract of undeveloped county-owned land.
The administration, along with some county legislators and developers, expressed concern that Blumenfeld’s project would not be competitive with a $1 billion proposal that includes a new hockey arena for the New York Islanders at Belmont Park in Elmont.
Curran said she hoped to bring mass transit, a major employer, housing, entertainment and retail to the Hub.
An agreement drawn up under the administration of former County Executive Edward Mangano gives Curran the authority to grant an extension, reassign the lease to Blumenfeld or cancel it. Curran, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, has said she believes the county will be able to proceed with development of the site “without any litigation standing in the way of progress.”
“The decision made today by the county executive proves she is focused on leading the way and bringing transformative development to the Hub,” Curran spokesman Mike Martino said.
Blumenfeld has said he and his partners “have a right to be at the table” after reaching an out-of-court settlement with former partner Forest City Ratner in February.
Blumenfeld and Forest City — once partners to jointly develop the 11-acre parcel — had been in a legal battle since 2015. The county had been granting extensions on the lease in 90- and 60-day increments; the most recent lease extension expires Monday.
Nassau Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the minority leader, said he supported Curran’s decision to seek out other developers.
“The Blumenfeld proposal did have some merit but we did have concerns about that type of project being at the center of the Hub,” said Abrahams. “Without the proper transportation connections, we feel like this type of plan was isolated and would not advance the county’as growth.”
A representative for the legislature’s GOP majority could not be reached for comment Thursday.