Skip to main content

Really? Unspecified bid for $1B arena project at 40-acre site wins nod in Suffolk County

Honestly, I didn't take seriously the idea of another major league arena on Long Island, in Suffolk County, no less, farther from New York City and with no anchor tenant.

Nonetheless, Newsday's Jim Baumbach and Carl MacGowan reported last night, in Suffolk selects $1B sports arena proposal for Ronkonkoma site:
A proposal for a 17,500-seat arena designed to lure a professional sports team to Suffolk County has been selected as the centerpiece for development of a 40-acre parcel between MacArthur Airport and the Ronkonkoma train station, a county spokesman said.
A committee overseeing a request for qualifications to develop the Ronkonkoma site on Friday selected a bid from Chicago real estate developer Jones Lang LaSalle and investment banker Ray Bartoszek to be the property’s master developer, Suffolk spokesman Jason Elan said. The planned sports and entertainment venue would be nearly the same size as a new 19,000-seat arena the New York Islanders are preparing to build about 40 miles west at Belmont Park.
According to the proposal, the Ronkonkoma site is “an ideal location for a multipurpose arena/entertainment center,” and the proposed arena “will enhance and complement the operations and marketability of other venues in the market while not conflicting with the catchment areas of the Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden.”
Um, this hits all the buttons, "$1 billion," "privately financed," and, oh, no mention of what the "bid" consists of, i.e., what the bidders would be paying for the 40-acre site.

At least the Newsday article noted skepticism from legislators regarding the lack of an anchor tenant, and the proposal's curious omission of the existing Nassau Coliseum and the preliminarily approved, but not yet under construction arena at Belmont, with the New York Islanders as anchor tenant.

I'm betting that the Suffolk County Legislature will put the brakes on.

Newsday points out the obvious

Update: a 4/14/18 Newsday editorial, A big arena in Suffolk County makes no sense for Long Island:
Suffolk County last week chose a developer to build on the Town of Islip’s 40-acre portion of the critically important Ronkonkoma Hub. The plan put forth by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. and its partners is a 17,500-seat arena, with a hotel, convention space, medical facilities and additional development.
But exactly how would that plan succeed with an 18,000-seat arena, hotel and other development being planned at Belmont Park as the future home of the New York Islanders? And what about the remodeled Nassau Coliseum, now a 13,000-plus seat arena, that still sits alone amid 77 acres at the Nassau Hub?
...Major projects should be developed with a grasp of how they complement other parts of the region. That’s not what has happened here.
Agreed, though I'd also argue that Belmont and the Coliseum overlap.

Newsday suggests that the Suffolk arena may be suggested as a fallback in case the Belmont plan dies. But even that wouldn't necessarily make sense, given the location.

Comments