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Nassau hires law firm to handle Coliseum talks

Shown here is the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Shown here is the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Feb. 9, 2012) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Nassau County has hired a White Plains law firm to handle future negotiations with potential developers of the Nassau Coliseum site.

Nassau officials first hired the firm, Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West, Llc, this spring for $25,000 to prepare the county's application for state funding and its Request for Qualifications for a master developer for the site. County Executive Edward Mangano's administration Monday sought an additional $200,000 in a resolution before the Rules Committee of the county legislature. It was approved unanimously Monday.

The firm previously advised the town of Ramapo, in Rockland County, on a project to build a minor league ballpark. Voters rejected a $16.5 million bond referendum to build the stadium in 2010, but the ballpark was built in 2011 through a local development corporation.

More than a year ago, Nassau voters rejected a $400 million bond to pay for a new Coliseum and a minor league ballpark with county funds. The county is in the process of seeking a private master developer to oversee construction at the 77-acre site.

New York Islanders owner Charles Wang has said he will not stay in the current Coliseum past 2015, when his lease expires. Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker did not return calls for comment Monday.

"We all collectively would like to see the Coliseum site developed and keep the Islanders here," Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said Monday. "Time is of the essence. The Islanders are going to make a decision whether they're leaving very soon."/He said he did not know how long the $200,000 in funds would last, admitting that he could be going back to the legislature to ask for more.

Plainview developer Donald Monti, Syosset developer Edward Blumenfeld and Patchogue architect Baldassano Architecture are competing to become master developer of the site.

"It's such a complex area that unfortunately, everyone has failed miserably," Walker told the committee Monday. "Nothing has taken place for far too long."

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