The Islanders released new renderings of their $1 billion UBS Arena on Friday, showing off the building’s luxury spaces that were designed to resemble a modern-day extension of the neighboring racetrack.
The images of the arena’s suites, bars and gathering places for their premium ticket holders will remind many of the look and feel of the inside of Belmont Park, built in 1905 and refurbished in the 1960s.
The Islanders have said their goal when designing their long-sought-after new home was to marry the fan-friendly sightlines of Nassau Coliseum with modern arena amenities that "emulate timeless New York landmarks … which still evoke elegance and grandeur."
UBS Arena, slated to hold 17,113 for Islanders games, will have 55 suites, which is significantly fewer than most recent arenas. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, for example, the most recently built in the metropolitan area, has 101 suites.
Instead, the Islanders and their arena partners — arena development company Oak View Group and outgoing Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon — focused their premium experience around the arena’s 1,995 club seats.
Tickets to these club seats give fans access to bars and gathering places specific to that club. Inspiration for their designs, they say, come from New York City landmarks such as Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Station and the Carlyle Hotel.
"We really saw that there was a great opportunity to create social spaces, especially in the premium level, and I think that’ll be a very defining feature for this arena," said Jason Katz, vice president of the Scott Malkin Group, which manages the arena’s design, branding and marketing. "We’ll really have this more social dynamic, with a bar- or lounge-like feel to it where you can watch the game, you can watch an event and you can meet people."
There will be four clubs that differ in both size — ranging from 130 seats to 1,300 — and also in the design of the entertainment areas.
Matt Goodrich, the interior designer of the various club gathering areas, said it’s the first arena project he’s been a part of after a career specializing in designing hospitality driven spaces such as hotels and restaurants.
"I think what is going to be really surprising and really interesting to people when they realize they don’t necessarily even know that I’m in an arena in terms of the quality of the experience and the thoughtfulness of experience," Goodrich said.
The arena is the focal point of a $1.5 billion sports and entertainment development at Belmont that also includes a 250-room boutique hotel and 350,000 square feet of open-air retail on 43 acres of state-owned land.
Construction of the arena is expected to be finished in November 2021, in time for the start of the Islanders’ 2021-22 NHL regular season. Construction on the rest of the complex has not yet begun.