Mineola (WALK) - In only about another month or so, there may finally be a plan in place to revamp the aging Nassau Coliseum.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced yesterday that two finalists had been chosen from the bids submitted to the county: one from the Madison Square Garden Co. and the other from Forest City Ratner. MSG is run by the Dolans, the same family that controls Cablevision and Newsday, while Forest City Ratner is controlled by Bruce Ratner, who developed the wildly successful new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
MSG's plan, which carries a $250 million price tag that would be privately financed, includes a renovated 14,500-seat arena, along with a giant entertainment complex featuring restaurants, retail shops and an Islanders-themed sports bar, even though the team is scheduled to leave the Coliseum for Barclays Center in another two years. The Ratner plan features a brand new arena with 13,000 seats, along with restaurants, a movie theater, retail space, and a 2,500-seat outdoor amphitheater than can be converted to an ice skating rink in winter time. The cost would be $229 million, financed by developers.
Both bids include bringing in professional sports teams. The MSG plan includes at least one of its sports franchises: the WNBA's New York Liberty, the AHL Connecticut Whale hockey club, or the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA D-League. The Forest City Ratner proposal includes a minor league AHL team, as well as six Islanders regular-season games and one Brooklyn Nets pre-season game.
The next step, according to Mangano, is for the two finalists to agree to contracts that will contain their final offers and be legally binding, once accepted by the county. Those contracts will help Mangano make his final selection, which he will then submit to the county legislature for approval.
The deadline for a final decision was supposed to be July 15th but Mangano has pushed that date back to mid-August, to give the final two bidders time to negotiate those final contracts with Nassau County, he says.