Summer Time Blues: Islanders Arena Talk
The New York Islanders are heading straight towards the expiration of their lease with Nassau Coliseum in 2015 and still have no plan set for what will happen with the Hub, as well as the future of the Long Island's only professional sports team. (Photo Credit: stayclassynet/Flickr)
Recently, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano released a statement to Newsday that he is looking for developers that are interested in developing the site. His plan would have a master developer renovate or construct a new Coliseum that could potentially keep the Islanders here.
However, Mangano's RFQ (Request for Qualification) would provide the master developer the right to share revenue with the Islanders while the team basically remained a tenant in a building that the owner had nothing to do with being built.
Can you see where this already seems like a "wait...what?" scenario?
Owner Charles Wang has continued to lose millions of dollars season after season and has done everything he could to make up for his losses while keeping the Islanders in Nassau County. There was the Lighthouse Project that he would have basically funded himself, but this was halted after Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray threw her zoning laws in his face, thus preventing this from ever getting off her desk.
He went the other way, and would have had a new arena constructed through public funding had it been approved on last summer's August 1st referendum, but this, too, failed. Getting the residents of Nassau County, especially those who don't care about hockey or are too old to get out to the barn for any event, to vote in favor of raising taxes in one of the most expensive places to live was a bold strategy. Isles fans put up a fight, but in the end, it didn't matter.
So now fingers have pointed to only one solution: the Islanders will leave Nassau County in 2015.
Mangano has stated that it is his desire to keep the Islanders in Nassau, but part of his RFQ states that the building would be built for the Islanders, "or other professional sports team." That doesn't exactly give the warm and fuzzy feeling that Islanders fans have longed for.
B.D. Gallof of Hockey Independent and CBS New York has a great article that really dissects Mangano's proposal. If you're an optimist, you'll enjoy it; if you're a pessimist, you'll support it; and if you're hopeless, well, you might get a little depressed.
But for now, this is more of the same news. Until Charles Wang speaks, which he hasn't really done so since last summer, more talks and ideas will get tossed around until a developer is finally found.
Let's hope this developer is an Islanders fan at heart.