March 4, 2012
Additional Developemnt Will Be Key
No matter where the Islanders wind up in New York after 2015 additional development around the arena will be key. The development will be needed to help fund an arena in the cases of Suffolk and Nassau County as well as giving Wang additional revenue. When it comes to Brooklyn the development is needed so Wang can make up the revenue he will lose with an arena that only hold 14,500. If the Islanders do end up in Queens it will most likely be part of the redevelopment plans of Willets Point. No matter where the location is I believe that additional development is needed to make the arena a worth while investment for Wang or any owner the Islanders have.
In my opinion the two most likely landing spots of the Islanders in New York are Brooklyn and Suffolk County. Brooklyn since it has an arena being built and a green light for development around the arena. The questions become whether or not Wang is interested in the Barclays Center and the Atlantic Yard development, and if he can get a large enough percentage of the development to make it worth his while. Suffolk County is the next most likely landing spots, because they have plenty of land for a lighthouse type project. Wang's dream has been to create a destination center on Long Island, and if he still wants that Suffolk gives him a better chance than Nassau in making that dream a reality. If Wang is worry about going through the entire development process he might consider jumping on one of the future development projects like the Heartland Town Square or Ronkonkoma Hub. The Heartland project has been proposed for ten years now and is actually part of the site in Brentwood that Wang consider moving the Isles to in 2006.
The problem that I see with Queens at the moment is the legal trouble that the Willets Point Development is facing and the fact that the Wilpons are broke. When it comes to Nassau the taxpayers already expressed that they had no interest in spending a dime for an arena and the Hempstead has made a zoning that won't allow for arena to be profitable. Unless these problems change soon Queens and Nassau are long shots for the Islanders in my mind.