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Ronkonkoma entertainment complex planners receive 3-month extension

The group behind a proposed $1 billion mixed-use development featuring both a hockey arena and an outdoor sports stadium for Ronkonkoma has received a three-month extension to submit plans to Suffolk County.

The developers, led by Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, were slated to hand over their detailed plans to the county this month following an eight-month window in which they were studying the feasibility of their originally proposed plans.

The group instead came back and asked for additional time “to secure letters of commitment and interest from the various potential tenants on the site,” according to John Cameron of Woodbury-based Cameron Engineering & Associates.

Jason Elan, spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, said, “The developers requested an extension and the County granted an additional three months.”

The group won a request for qualifications to develop a 40-acre parcel between MacArthur Airport and the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station in April 2018 after proposing a 17,500-seat arena designed to lure a professional hockey team to Ronkonkoma.

The development group, called the Ronkonkoma Vision Project, then revealed in March that it had reduced the size of the hockey arena to 7,500, saying it was a better fit for the area and added an outdoor 6,000-seat stadium to the plans.

The group says it has retained former Islanders and Rangers player Pat LaFontaine to recruit men’s and women’s teams from the pro and collegiate ranks to play hockey, soccer and lacrosse at the site.

LaFontaine, of Cold Spring Harbor, also was tasked with developing “grass roots athletic programs” to take place at the community athletic practice fields added to the plans.

The group also is pitching Long Island’s first convention center, a 300-room hotel, office space, medical research facilities, community practice fields and retail space.

In a statement this week, Cameron said, “The project is a multi-faceted mixed use transit-oriented economic development project that is encompassing a regional convention and event center, medical research focused on veterans and athletes, commercial office, professional and youth sports programs, community entertainment, etc.”

Once the developers submit their fleshed-out proposal to Suffolk in November, the county and developers have six months to reach a master developer agreement before the plans go before the Suffolk Legislature.

Cameron added in his statement this week that the group will share the details of its ironed-out plans “at the appropriate time.”

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