Mets, LI Ducks submit minor-league plans
The owners of the Long Island Ducks and the New York Mets have pitched competing proposals to build a minor-league baseball field in Nassau County.
The county solicited requests for proposals from franchises last month, but only two teams showed interest before the bidding closed Thursday.
The Central Islip-based Ducks, which play in the eight-team Atlantic League, submitted their bid Thursday morning. The Mets came in with their offer at 3:56 p.m. on Thursday -- just four minutes before the deadline, said Brian Nevin, spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano.
A Nassau review committee met Friday to receive the proposals. "The committee will receive scoring sheets and provide feedback to the county," Nevin said. "Both bidders will be asked to come in to interview with the committee. The county expects to make a decision in two weeks."
The county declined to release copies of the ballfield proposals until after the procurement process is completed.
Nassau residents will vote Aug. 1 on whether to allow the county to borrow up to $350 million to construct a new arena next to the Nassau Coliseum, and up to $50 million for the ballpark at nearby Mitchel Field. Even if voters approve the plan, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state watchdog that controls the county's finances, must approve the borrowing.
Thus far, few details have emerged about the particulars of the ballpark offers, but Ducks owner Frank Boulton is offering about $200,000 more in annual revenue-sharing than the Mets, Nevin said. The Atlantic League already has approval for a new team for Nassau while the Mets do not and need league approval, he said.
In a statement, the Mets confirmed their offer but provided no details. "The level of classification of the Mets-affiliated minor league team for the new ballpark is not yet determined, but it would be a full-season club," the team said. "The provisions and terms of the response are not being made public."
Triple-A, Double-A and some Single-A teams play a full minor league season, roughly 140 games.
David Blumenfeld, whose Blumenfeld Development Group is aligned with the Mets proposal, referred all calls to the Mets.
Boulton said his proposal calls for a 6,000-seat stadium -- almost identical to the Ducks' Bethpage Ballpark -- with 20 skyboxes. The plan calls for using the existing parking on the property.
"Long Island Ducks baseball speaks for itself," Boulton said. "We've had 12 great years. And we are ready to make bringing Atlantic League baseball to Nassau County a reality."
Boulton declined to detail the terms of his revenue-sharing proposal. Nassau will be reimbursed for the borrowing through an agreement with the Islanders and the minor league club.
The Ducks' lease agreement with Suffolk pays the county $1 per ticket and 25 percent of skybox revenue, Boulton said. Suffolk also retains the field's naming rights and 20 percent of gross concession revenue for non-game-day events. The Nassau proposal is similar to the Ducks' agreement with Suffolk, although Boulton has suggested shared revenue for the naming rights. He said the terms of the naming rights remain up for discussion.