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Wang, Levy discuss Suffolk Coliseum sites

Charles Wang addresses media and supporters after the

Charles Wang addresses media and supporters after the polls closed for the Coliseum referendum vote at Nassau Coliseum. Credit: Thomas A. Ferrara

Within days of Nassau residents' rejection of the coliseum proposal, New York Islanders owner Charles Wang was on the phone discussing potential sites with Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

Dan Aug, Levy's spokesman, said Levy called Wang on Thursday. Aug described the conversation as "cordial" and said lasted "maybe five minutes."

"Both agreed that it's a good idea, given what happened in Nassau County, for them to take another look at possibilities in Suffolk County," Aug said, saying "no specific locations were discussed."

Wang is traveling over the next couple of weeks, but both Levy and Wang agreed to stay in touch going forward. "The dialogue will continue when he returns," Aug said.

Wang did not return calls for comment.

On Monday, Nassau voters rejected, 57 percent to 43 percent, a proposal to borrow up to $400 million to build a new arena and a minor league baseball stadium.

This isn't the first time Levy has tried to court the Islanders. Nearly two years ago, when Wang's Lighthouse Project, a $3.8-billion mixed-use development proposal, was awaiting approval from Hempstead Town, Levy said he had spoken with those close to Wang about Suffolk's interest in the Islanders.

"If it does fall apart in Nassau, we would pursue it," Levy said in October 2009. "If he's ready to talk to us, we'll be willing to work with him very vigorously."

The Lighthouse Project subsequently foundered after Hempstead officials found it was too dense, but Wang continued to work with Nassau County in an effort to rebuild Nassau Coliseum.

Reached Friday, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said: "I suspect there will be many areas that try to woo the Islanders out of Nassau, but we will continue our efforts to keep the Islanders in Nassau and advance a sports entertainment destination vision."

The Islanders' current lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015. Wang has said he would move the team if he does not get a new arena by then.

Wang said in a statement this week he has "two goals" for the Islanders: "winning the Stanley Cup and keeping the Islanders on Long Island."

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