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Islanders owner hoping for 150 events at new arena, plus upgraded LIRR station

Newsday's Jim Baumbach today offers Jonathan Ledecky reveals location of proposed Islanders’ arena at Belmont, including:
The arena would be located next to the existing, part-time LIRR station in what is now a parking lot outside the grandstand area of the racetrack, Ledecky said.
The new arena would host approximately 150 events per year, including Islanders games and entertainment such as concerts, family shows and college basketball games, according to Peter Luukko of Oak View Group, one of the Islanders’ partners in the development.
Well, those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the Barclays Center was projected to host 225 events, but averaged 180-200 before the Islanders arrived.

We have to wait to see their market study, but presumably that total of 150 events involves cannibalization from the Nassau Coliseum, which wouldn't make Nassau County officials very happy.

Making it work

Ledecky told Newsday there would be 7,000 parking spots to allow for tailgating. That raises the question of how much his team's bid would be paying for the right to that parking.

He also said the bid presumes an upgrading of the Long Island Rail Road station at Belmont. Note that local officials have also called for a full-time station as part of any Belmont upgrade.

But given some expected public investment, I suspect the bidders will have to pitch that as a broader civic benefit. Surely one of the issues for negotiation would be how much private money would go into that.

As to returning to the Coliseum. Ledecky said, “It’s not set up with the things you need to generate the revenue that you need to compete for the Cup.” That means luxury boxes, though surely an arena on Long Island can't support as many high rollers as one in New York City.

One unanswered question: how big would this arena be? In other words, would it be a bigger building but have the same seating capacity as the Coliseum? Is the issue the revenue per seat--plus LIRR access--rather than the number of people in the building?



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