A news conference to trumpet the selection of a developer to renovate a suburban New York sports arena morphed into a pep rally Friday, as sports luminaries including Jason Kidd and John Calipari joined elected officials and business leaders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.Of course it was a pep rally. That's how they do it. The Islanders are expected to play six games, pending NHL approval, after the Coliseum's renovated. The Nets? Maybe an exhibition game. Kentucky? If they're playing in Brooklyn, they're nearby, but Brooklyn's a much better draw.
Kidd, the Brooklyn Nets coach, University of Kentucky basketball coach Calipari were trotted out alongside New York Islanders star Matt Martin and boxing champion Bernard Hopkins as representatives of some of the sporting events that could be staged at a renovated coliseum.
The AP reported:
Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, which built the Barclays Center, said he expects renovations to begin in 2015 and be completed after about 18 months. In addition to the sports arena, Ratner envisions a bowling alley, movie theaters, restaurants and other amenities will be built on the 77-acre property, one of the largest parcels of open space remaining in the densely crowded suburb.This project, which involves an investment of $229 million and guarantees of at least $195 million, looks like a much better deal than the $400 million in borrowing the county wanted taxpayers to approve (and keep the Islanders), or the proposal by rival Madison Square Garden, I have to wonder if there's a catch in the "no cost to taxpayers" plan.
Newsday political columnist Dan Manison suggested that the plan to revise the Coliseum was "a redeeming public-relations coup" for county executive Ed Mangano, even if there were skeptics about Ratner's plan, or that Ratner was "the same businessman who lured the Islanders out of Nassau."
Forbes's Tom Van Riper, in Brooklyn Islanders? Not So Fast, suggested counter-intuitively that the Coliseum revamp is "enough to make you wonder if a deal is bound to be struck at some point to keep the Islanders at home."