Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Respected Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner" gets key approval for Nassau Coliseum project

Unsurprisingly, the Hempstead Town Board yesterday approved the redevelopment plan for the Nassau Coliseum led by Bruce Ratner and the Nassau Events Center development group. 

As noted by Newsday, this was the final hurdle for the project, and renovation work should begin shortly after the final event at the Coliseum, an Aug. 4 concert featuring Billy Joel.

Notably, the press release referred to "respected Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner," a strained honorific that vaguely recalls the attempt to attach "Cultural Icon" to Jay-Z. The respect due Ratner surely should be balanced with wariness.

The press release below, verbatim

Murray & Hempstead Town Board Approve Plan For Renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Surrounding Property
Supervisor Kate Murray and the Hempstead Town Board have approved a redevelopment plan for the property surrounding the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, clearing the way for the complete renovation of the aging arena and setting the stage for additional new construction at the site. Nassau Events Center, LLC (NEC), a development group headed by respected Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner, presented its Conceptual Master Plan to the town on April 14th and the Town Board held a hearing on the plan on May 19th. After a thorough review of the proposal and extensive questioning of the applicant by Town Board members at the public hearing, Murray and the councilmembers signed off on the Master Plan at a May 26th meeting. 
“I am pleased that the Hempstead Town Board has ‘set the stage’ for a thoroughly renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and additional new construction at Nassau’s HUB by approving Nassau Events Center’s plan,” stated Murray. “The Coliseum renovation will take place without any taxpayer financing, and the approved plan provides for balanced and sustainable development.”
The Conceptual Master Plan presented by NEC and approved by the Town Board provides for 3.4 million square feet of development on the 91-acre site. The first phase of the project includes a renovated Coliseum (416,000 square feet) and 188,000 square feet of related development. The Board’s approval also contained a number of technical conditions which govern issues such as adherence to the Master Plan, “green building” requirements and reviews that would be triggered by future development proposals that go above and beyond the approved Master Plan. 
NEC will not be required to appear before the Town Board again before it moves forward with its planned interior and exterior renovations on the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The applicant will be required to secure any necessary building permits from the Town of Hempstead Building Department. Types of permits that could be applicable include plumbing, electrical, general construction, etc.
“The Town Board’s approval of NEC’s Conceptual Master Plan demonstrates that Hempstead Town is committed to progressive and reasonable development at the Coliseum site,” stated Senior Town Councilman Anthony Santino. “I am proud of the work that town officials did in reviewing this proposal, and I thank Supervisor Murray for her leadership throughout this complex process.” 
Murray and Ratner indicated that NEC’s submission of its Conceptual Master Plan and the production of an Environmental Assessment Form were able to be generated in an expeditious timeframe as a result of two factors. First, Supervisor Murray, Councilwoman Goosby and the Town Board created a unique building construction zone for the area surrounding the Coliseum after a previous development proposal stalled. The town-created zone is progressive and accommodates development uses such as the Coliseum, hotels, a convention center, health and technology facilities, business offices and educational institutions, among other uses. The zone, the Mitchel Field Mixed (MFM) Use District, was adopted in June of 2011. The zone established a framework for developers, detailing the types of construction that prospective developers could build at the site. 
“Supervisor Murray and I worked hard to make the prospect of a renewed Coliseum and additional ‘smart growth’ a reality at this site,” stated Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby. “This is a great step forward in the redevelopment of the Coliseum and the property surrounding the arena.”
“Today’s approval by the Hempstead Town Board brings us one step closer to beginning work on the redevelopment of the Coliseum site. I want to thank Town Supervisor Kate Murray for working closely with us to get to this moment,” said Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies. “We look forward to beginning construction in the near future so that we can bring all Long Island residents the reimagined venue they truly deserve.”
Murray renewed her thanks to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano for advancing the development process at the Coliseum site by leading the review of applicants for a renovated Coliseum and selecting NEC as the developer for the project.
“Hempstead Town has demonstrated that government and the private sector can work together efficiently to bring about smart, forward-looking development,” concluded Murray. “I want to thank Bruce Ratner for presenting a great proposal that accommodates a renewed Coliseum and associated development, as well as a plan for future construction across the entire site. I also want to thank Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and all of my colleagues on the Town Board for their tireless work in creating a progressive building construction zone at this location that will preserve our suburban character while providing for substantial growth. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to all of the residents of Nassau County, especially those who live in communities that surround the Coliseum, for sharing their important views and concerns as we considered major development that will impact our regions for many years to come.”

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