Sunday, March 27, 2016

As Long Island Nets unveil plans, concern about Coliseum delays prompts local pushback

So the Brooklyn Nets' new D-League team, the Long Island Nets, this week unveiled their new logo and uniforms for the coming season, which will be played at the Barclays Center--likely twinned with NBA games--before moving to the revamped Nassau Coliseum.

(The read, white, and blue evokes the old Long Island-based New York Nets.)

But the news sneaking out is that the Coliseum will not be ready by the end of 2016, as originally predicted, and will reopen in 2017.

That first came up in a 1/5/16 Newsday article, which reported that Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who backed the Forest City Ratner-led Nassau Events Center effort to revamp the Coliseum, acknowledged the project would open in the “first quarter of 2017," though luck might bring it sooner.

As Newsday reported, a scheduled 12/10/16 Kentucky basketball game versus Long Island's Hofstra University would have to switch to the Barclays Center if the Coliseum isn't ready. The Nassau Events Center is now owned 85% by Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim.

But upon the Long Island Nets announcement, Newsday reported 3/24/16, Nassau Coliseum will be ready for Long Island Nets in 2017, Brett Yormark says, without mention that the arena is supposed to open this year. Of course it will be ready in fall 2017.

Concern about Coliseum delays

Newsday did report some concern:
Yormark was adamant that significant progress has been made on the building, though there has been recent speculation that the project was not moving along as expected. This week, the Association for a Better Long Island called on Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to rescind the lease on the building, which belongs to Forest City Ratner, saying that the renovations had stalled.
Mangano yesterday tweeted a picture of a stripped Coliseum and said that more than 1,000 pounds of debris had been removed. He said he will not rescind the lease.
The Association for a Better Long Island made its announcement on Facebook:
The ABLI is calling on Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to rescind the lease on the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum currently held by a Russian oligarch and allow the Long Island development community to resubmit their respective visions for the future of the Coliseum.
ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan stated, “It is time the County Executive publicly acknowledges what is privately recognized by business leaders and real estate executives throughout the region: That the Ratner coliseum plan is moribund. Bruce Ratner is no longer engaged and the Russian holder of the lease clearly has no desire to move forward as his own finances may reflect the unsteady economic conditions of his native country.
“It is not an admission of failure to pull the lease back. Such an affirmative action would serve notice that the Mangano administration will not allow this incredibly important parcel to be marginalized and controlled by those who do not have the best interest of the county, the taxpayer or our economy as their first or even second priority,” continued Ryan.
Note that ABLI past president/board member Ed Blumenfeld, a short-term partner with Forest City Ratner on the redevelopment of the Nassau Coliseum environs, is now an antagonist in a bitter lawsuit.

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