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$1.3B NY Arena Gets Construction Approval

Thursday, September 12, 2019

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Reported last month, members of New York’s Empire State Development Board announced a unanimous vote approving the construction of a $1.3 billion arena and entertainment complex in Belmont Park, New York.

The arena is slated to be home to the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.

About the Project

Starting in July 2017, the ESD released a request for proposals for the park’s redevelopment. By December, the Islanders group was awarded development rights and Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially announced the intentions of the project.

The month after, Cuomo brokered a deal so that the Islanders can play half their scheduled games at the Nassau Coliseum and the Barclays Center while construction takes place at the future Belmont arena. During this time, the state also began working on an environmental review of the project.

In October 2018, a timeline for the project was released, revealing that construction could be completed as early as October 2021. An,d as expected, by December 2018, the state released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, highlighting potential traffic issues as a result of the project.

By July of this year, Cuomo announced that a new Long Island Rail Road station would be added to the main line, connecting the north parking lot of Belmont.

Also announced prior to the recent construction approvals, the state Public Authorities Control Board reportedly approved ESD’s acquisition of the Belmont property from the state Franchise Oversight Board, the agency that oversees the New York Racing Association and all activity at Belmont. However, the Oversight Board still needs to approve the state’s environmental review.

The firm spearheading the privately funded project is New York Arena Partners, a joint venture between Sterling Equities, the Scott Malkin Group, Madison Square Garden and the Oak View Group. The current design team includes JRDC Architects, Populous and Stantec.

The project is expected to create 3,200 jobs in the area, promising nearby residents that 30% of the workforce will be made up of people who live within a 4-mile radius.

The Design

Slated to be built over 43 acres of vacant state-owned property behind the Belmont Park racetrack, the development project will feature a 19,000-seat arena and a 250-room hotel paired with 350,000 square feet of various shopping opportunities and restaurants. The project also includes the construction of parking amenities.

The development will also feature a new full-time station for the Long Island Rail Road. Construction for this portion of the project will be 92% covered by developers and is expected to total $105 million.

The project is being developed by the New York Arena Partners, a partnership of the Islanders and the New York Mets along with the Oak View Group. Of the $1.3 billion estimated cost, developers are slated to pay out $955 million.

What’s Happening Now

In its most recent steps, the ESD unanimously approved the construction of the Belmont Park Arena. The voting process was conducted after a Manhattan-based two-hour meeting, which included public comment from residents, civic groups and lawmakers.

“We are proud of the open, public process this project has gone through over the last two years, strengthened by the input and support of community members who made their voices heard and helped improve the plan, resulting in today’s positive outcome," ESD chairman Howard Zemsky said in a statement after the vote.

"We are committed to continuing to work with New York Arena Partners, community members, and local leaders to deliver on the thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity this project will create.”

Also happy with the end result, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said, “It's been a long journey and I think that the fans deserve a new home.”

Floral Park Village Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald and Floral Park Trustee Lynn Pombonyo were reported to be the only two speakers in opposition of the project and requested more time to review the impact of construction.

As part of the construction approval, the ESD has also adopted the environmental review’s findings statement, a procedural move that opens a 120-day window for opponents to file lawsuits in order to try and halt the project’s construction.

The Oversight Board approval for the environmental review is expected to be received in the coming weeks, with a groundbreaking ceremony soon to follow. 


Tagged categories: Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Construction; Commerial/Architectural; Construction; Hotels; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Projects - Commercial; Retail; Retail; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Upcoming projects

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