Questions raised about Belmont's distance from Suffolk County hockey fans; new Suffolk arena (!) proposed
Asked why the prior county administration didn’t compel developer Forest City Ratner to make the Coliseum NHL ready in the first place, Nassau’s newly minted Deputy County Executive Helena Williams said that’s something she’s wondered as well.And that, editors and reporters at Newsday said, was bunk, given that the arena, too small for expansion and luxury suites (as I noted too), was always supposed to be downsized.
“We’ve searched for records on what the thinking was when the renovation was done to the Coliseum and we have not found any documentation on the rationale,” Williams told LIBN.
Belmont too far?
The article discusses plans for retail and housing around the Nassau Coliseum, but the most interesting thing to me was a sense of dismay, from some Suffolk County hockey fans, that the planned new Belmont arena is too far:
“To call Belmont a return to Long Island is ridiculous,” [Craig] Morris said. “You can throw a rock across the street from Belmont and hit Queens. Who’s going to travel there regularly from Suffolk? It isn’t Long Island. It’s New York City. The same thing that happened at Barclays is going to happen here.”Williams said a new Hub Advisory Committee will advise on how the two competing arenas can coexist.
And one question, as raised in the article, is how the Long Island Rail Road will deliver westbound passengers to Belmont, since currently they'd have to go to Jamaica and reverse course.
“We welcome the opportunity to see a brand new arena,” Williams said. “It’s not being built at public expense." Surely, the former LIRR president knows better, that the public expense includes infrastructure upgrades.
A third Long Island arena?
Meanwhile, Newsday reported yesterday, Suffolk County weighs Ronkonkoma site plans, including arena. I don't think the arena proposal, among the four plans submitted, is going to fly, whether or not the Belmont plan proceeds--too far out on the Island, even with a railroad stop--but here are the details on that proposal:
Jones Lang LaSalle, which has offices in Manhattan and Melville, is pitching a privately financed $1 billion mixed-used project featuring the arena, two community ice rinks, a recreation center and a sports medicine facility. Spectra, a subsidiary of Comcast Spectacor, which also owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, would manage the arena.
“We believe there’s an opportunity here for sports and entertainment, because people who want to go a sporting event or show, they’re going all the way to the Garden, Barclays Center, Nassau Coliseum,” said John Cameron, managing partner of Woodbury-based Cameron Engineering, which also is involved in the proposal.
No professional sports teams or leagues have committed as a potential anchor tenant, but Cameron said he not concerned. “Once you’re real, then teams want to talk to you,” he said.