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OpinionEditorial

Nassau Hub developers must sell their plan

A view of part of the 72 acres

A view of part of the 72 acres of undeveloped land owned by Nassau County near the Coliseum. Credit: ALL Island Aerial / Kevin P. Coughlin

The Nassau Hub’s newest development team has a lengthy to-do list. Legislative approvals are needed and state funding must be secured. But that list has to start and end with community outreach to get this long-awaited project underway.

Developer Scott Rechler of RXR Realty and Brett Yormark, whose BSE Global operates Nassau Coliseum, are hoping to build a mix of life-sciences research facilities, office space, experiential retail and 500 units of housing at the Hub. But they have to build support from neighbors to realize their vision. That means meeting with elected officials, the Uniondale school district, nearby neighborhoods like Garden City, East Meadow and the Village of Hempstead, Hofstra University and Nassau Community College, and civic and business groups.

Last week, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran filed amendments to the Coliseum lease and an initial development plan agreement. The documents require approval from the Nassau County Legislature, and that’s the necessary first step. Lawmakers should move to have that happen by the end of the year.

Eventually, the legislature also will have to approve site plans and more detailed agreements between the county and the developers that should include rent or revenue sharing and the benefits to local communities. The developers still have to secure a deal with Mount Sinai Health Network, which is critical to bringing life sciences jobs to the Hub. But nothing will happen without state money for parking garages, life sciences tenants, pedestrian bridges and transit. It’s up to Rechler and Yormark to get Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on board.

The developers have two years to do all that, but let’s fast-track it, and get things moving. We’ve waited long enough. The county needs the economic jolt and Long Islanders need a new destination and the housing the development could provide.

The county has to do its part, too. Some of the lease amendments Curran has proposed, however small, are attempts to adjust the lease to fit reality. There were, for instance, minor lease provisions the county’s previous administration didn’t enforce and others that BSE Global, the county’s tenant, could no longer promise, like a Brooklyn Nets preseason game. Maybe this administration can draft a final lease and other contracts that are fully enforceable. Taxpayers are tired of not getting all they’re promised.

Before all that can happen, the legislature should approve the initial amendments and agreement, so the rest of the process can move forward. And, Rechler and Yormark have to start their show.

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