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Islanders submit plan for arena at Belmont Park

An aerial view over Belmont Park in Elmont

An aerial view over Belmont Park in Elmont May 30, 2015.  Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The Islanders said Thursday they have “submitted a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination at Belmont Park.”

Two other known bidders also submitted plans as Thursday’s deadline closed for bidders to answer the Empire State Development’s request for proposals to develop the land around the Elmont racetrack.

New York City FC, a soccer club partially owned by the New York Yankees, is proposing a roughly 26,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, according to a source familiar with the team’s plans.

Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group also submitted a proposal although company officials declined to discuss their bid.

The Islanders’ group is labeled New York Arena Partners, LLC. It includes Sterling Project Development, which is controlled by the Mets’ Wilpon family and Oak View Group, an arena development company backed by Madison Square Garden.

The Islanders, who are about to enter their third season playing home games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, are engaged in negotiations over modifying their 25-year license agreement. Oak View Group is advising the Islanders on those talks.

A potential Islanders arena that would have ties to Madison Square Garden would present competition for the Barclays Center and the renovated Nassau Coliseum — two nearby arenas run by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.

The Islanders left their longtime Coliseum home in 2015 but county officials have lobbied the team to return to the renovated Uniondale arena.

A spokeswoman for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment declined to comment.

NYCFC, which plays most home games at Yankee Stadium, submitted a bid that includes a recreational area for fans outside the stadium while an additional retail component is being proposed by Related Companies, a Manhattan-based developer.

Belmont is not NYCFC’s preferred location for an arena, according to a second source. NYCFC has expressed interest in two Bronx locations — Harlem River Yards in South Bronx and another location near Yankee Stadium — and in Flushing.

NYCFC has been seeking its own stadium since it began play in 2015 and decided to pursue Belmont because the RFP specifically seeks sports and entertainment options.

BDG president Ed Blumenfeld said his proposal “will meet and surpass the economic development criteria set forth by the state’s RFP while at the same time, enhance the quality of life of the surrounding community whose residents have spoken out repeatedly regarding what they wish to see on the Belmont property.”

Blumenfeld was one of four bidders on a 2013 RFP to develop Belmont, proposing a Costco Business Center, supermarket, restaurants and a recreational center with parks, a community center and athletic fields. ESD scrapped the proposals last year after a long-delayed process.

On the same day as the Belmont RFP submission deadline, Nassau executive Ed Mangano proposed Belmont as a potential local site for Amazon’s planned second headquarters to the Empire State Development Corp., which is coordinating the state’s efforts.

The new Belmont RFP calls for plans that include retail, entertainment, sports and hospitality options on the 43-acre vacant land surrounding the horse track. ESD has given no timeline for its decision and it could be months before the state picks a winning bidder.

ESD officials declined to identify the names of the Belmont bidders or how many proposals were submitted “in order to protect the integrity of the contract award process.”

The 2013 bidders included Blumenfeld, Related and the New York Cosmos, which proposed a 25,000-seat soccer stadium, hotel and retail and recreational complex. The Cosmos now play their home games at Brooklyn’s MCU Park.

The Engel Burman Group, based in Garden City, and Basser-Kaufman, of Woodmere, also bid on the Belmont property in 2013, but said they would not submit a proposal to the state this time around.

New York Sports