Nassau Coliseum Has A Bleak Future

The old barn doesn’t have much time as a big league arena left.

There is at least one more hockey game that will be played at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  The future of the building and its property is up in the air once the New York Islanders season is done. The team is moving west again but this time to the New York City, Nassau County border at the Belmont Park racetrack site. The old barn will be competing with the Islanders new home arena and with venues in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Newark, New Jersey. What can be done with the 49-year-old venue? There are no answers.  There may be some value for the Coliseum leaseholder as there is an enormous amount of property that surrounds the building that could be developed. But the days of hosting big time sports, a National Hockey League franchise, a National Basketball Association team, college basketball tournaments are done and concert acts will go to the new Islanders building. A minor league basketball team could continue playing there.

In July, 2017, New York State’s Empire State Development agency issued a Request For Proposals for the state-owned land at the Belmont site. The RFP seemed to be written to suit the Islanders’ owners’ needs for a hockey arena. Within five months, the Islanders ownership along with its partners, the New York Mets and Madison Square Garden ownerships won the right to develop the property. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the winning bid and then suggested that the Islanders play some games at a renovated Nassau Coliseum. Cuomo pressured the Islanders ownership and the owner of the Brooklyn arena and license holder of the Nassau Coliseum to make that happen. New York State invested $6 million to make sure the Coliseum was fixed up for the team temporarily. The end is near.

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