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Coliseum, research lab in new county plan

Artist rendering of one of the designs of

Artist rendering of one of the designs of the hub site surrounding Nassau Coliseum, which includes a bioscience park.

Nassau County officials submitted an extensive economic development plan to the state Friday that envisions creating a bioscience research and development park and a new Nassau Coliseum in the Hub.

The proposal also focuses on Belmont Park as a site of new sports and entertainment options, including a potential soccer stadium, as well as expanding homeland security research facilities and film and television studios at the Grumman property in Bethpage.

The plan suggests that Belmont could be an alternative site for the Coliseum if the bioscience park would take up the entire 77-acre Hub site. It also reiterates County Executive Edward Mangano's earlier proposal for a Shinnecock Indian Nation casino at Belmont.

"It ties in with the colleges, it ties in to the job development plan, it ties into the skilled labor force here," Mangano said. "There's just a synergy for it in our region."

The proposal suggests 6,000 permanent jobs would be created at the Coliseum site alone.

The county is primarily asking for $253 million in state money for infrastructure and roadway improvements. It would still have to seek private developers for the rest of the proposals.

Nassau sent its application to the state's Empire State Development Corp. Friday as a "transformative project." The submission will first compete with other economic development projects across Long Island. Then the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council will choose top projects to compete with nine other regions for $200 million in state funds. The state's decision is expected in December.

Going forward, there will be an additional $800 million in state dollars available through various grants, tax credits and other funding streams.

The Ronkonkoma Hub, the Mall at Oyster Bay at the former Cerro Wire site and Heartland Town Square in Brentwood, among others, are also competing for funds.

"I think ours is a very practical plan that creates jobs in 2012 and that will give it the appeal the state is looking for," Mangano said.

Titled "Accelerate Nassau Now," the plan proposes 5.4 million square feet of development at the 77-acre Coliseum site. The centerpiece of the effort is a bioscience innovation facility -- a 50-acre research and development park that could be home to out-of-state companies hoping to expand.

A new Coliseum would be built at the northern edge of the property, although the county is also entertaining proposals for a renovated arena. A 6,000-car, $150 million parking garage would be shared between bioscience offices and the Coliseum.

The site would have room for housing and the existing Long Island Marriott.Beyond the site itself, the county proposes a $7 million state-funded research and development exposition center on other county land at Mitchel Field, where bioscience conferences could be held. The county also hopes to include a minor league ballpark and track and field facility there.

Labor unions said they support efforts to redevelop the Hub, which the county projects would create 7,500 new construction jobs.

Officials expect the parking garage and roadway improvements could be completed over the next two years. A request for proposals would be issued once state funding decisions are made in December.

What's in the new plan

Among the proposals in the "Accelerate Nassau Now" plan released Friday are:

  • A 50-acre Bioscience Innovation Facility -- a research and development park.

  • A new Nassau Coliseum at the northern edge of the Hub site.
  • A 6,000-car, $150 million parking garage at the site.
  • New sports and entertainment options at Belmont Park, including a potential soccer stadium.
  • Expanding homeland security research facilities and film and television studios at the Grumman property in Bethpage.
  • A $7 million state-funded research and development exposition center at Mitchel Field.
  • A minor league baseball park and track and field facility at Mitchell Field.
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