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May 29, 2012

Botta Reports Isles Are NOT For Sale

Didn't even get to the Cup Final without another rumor about Charles Wang selling the #Isles. This one has him selling to Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov so the team could be moved to Brooklyn. I checked with both sides and have been assured nothing is happening at this time. Not even a hint of discussions. Said this a few times and I'll say it again: unless CW is blown away by an offer that enables him to recover most if not all of his 12 years of losses on the NYI, he's not selling. Next!

Gary Bettman Speaks Again

Above is a link to Gary Bettman's interview with Mike Frances on WFAN.  The two talked about many issues with the NHL, but the one we're going focus on here is the Islanders arena issue.


Bettman says that there is nothing concrete on the Islanders arena issue and Nassau needs to get there act together.  Francesca said the problem is that Nassau is broke, and that he doubts that they will be able to get anything done.  When Bettman was asked if he is hopefully an arena will get built in Nassau, he responded by saying that he is hopeful that somewhere in the New York Metropolitan  will come through.

When the conversation turned to the Barclays Center, Bettman said that Brooklyn is an option that has to be explored.  He also mention how he personally hasn't seen the arena yet and will have to wait to see how hockey plays there.

Nothing really new mention in these comments about the Islanders arena situation, but it does seem like he has taken a softer tone when talking about the Islanders and the possibility of moving them to Brooklyn.

Chris Hasen Launches Website for Seattle Arena

Chris Hansen the man who is trying to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and is also trying find someone interested in bringing an NHL team, has launched a website about the arena situation.  This website tells supporters what they can do to help the cause and informs people about the arena proposal.

If Seattle gets approval of a state of an art arena that will make them that much more dangerous to Islander fans. Seattle is an interesting hockey market.  They had the first American team to win the Stanley Cup with the Metropolitans and their location to Vancouver would create an interesting rivalry.  While other location have completed or are in the process of completing arena plans, Islander fans are still waiting on Ed Mangano's promised next plan.  The clock is ticking and Mangano needs to come up with a realistic plan soon if he wants to keep the Islanders.   

May 20, 2012

One Long Island Team will get Major Renovation to their Arena, but not the Islanders

The 21 million dollars that have been frozen since 2008 for Stoney Brook's renovations of their basketball arena have been freed up.  The Sea Wolves will be able to to have a state of an art multipurpose arena that has been designed by one of the groups involved in Citi Field.

   For the past four seasons, Stony Brook's basketball teams have played in 1,800-seat Pritchard Gymnasium while Stony Brook Arena lay dormant next door, awaiting previously approved state funds for renovation to be unfrozen. The wait ends tomorrow when university officials formally announce a $21.1 million construction project to create a 4,000-seat sports and entertainment venue.

Construction is expected to begin the second week of June, and the facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014. The renovations will include four luxury boxes and a VIP lounge area at the loge level with premium courtside seating, thanks to an anonymous private donation of $1 million because state funds cannot be used for that purpose. The north side of the current structure will expand toward the parking lot to create room for concessions, restrooms and a concourse.

Seating capacity for basketball will be 4,008, expandable to 4,200 with floor seating for entertainment events. Unlike the previous arena, most of the seating is permanent except for grandstands that roll back at each end of the court, where student seating is located. One of the architectural companies involved also designed Citi Field for the Mets.;JSESSIONID=505DDFECACC0D080B18902345522EEE4?site=newsday&view=sports_item&feed:a=newsday_5min&feed:c=sports&feed:i=1.3728108&part=0

While 21 million wouldn't put a dent into the work the coliseum would need if renovations is the direction the county and the Isles go in, it is nice to see a Long Island team being able to get an arena to compete in today's economic climate.  The state already has 30 million put aside for the Islanders arena, but a lot more funds are going be needed if the Islanders are going get their own hockey multipurpose arena to stay on Long Island proper. 

Will the Islanders be able to get the renovations or new arena they need to be able to compete in today's sports climate?  One Long Island team has!

For Those Who Think Brooklyn's Layout Could Never Be Changed

There are a lot of people who say that the Barclays Center hockey layout couldn't be changed even if everyone involved wanted to.  Well the Coyotes played in an arena with similar issues and the city of Phoenix had a plan to fix the poor end of the America West Arena.

The city of Phoenix and America West Arena officials plan to unveil a proposal Thursday that would fix the view from up to 3,300 seats, ensuring hockey fans can see both goals.
"There will be more than 17,000 seats with unobstructed views in the arena," Sheryl Sculley, the assistant city manager, said Tuesday.
Currently, fans in 4,200 of the seats can only see one goal when the Phoenix Coyotes play there.

The first phase of the city's proposal would replace about 2,000 of the seats at a cost of $10 million. A second phase could replace an additional 1,300 seats and make other improvements.
Phoenix officials said the renovations would create different seat configurations for varying sporting events. They have recommended that the changes be made even if the Coyotes move to Scottsdale.
Sculley said the plan would be paid for through the arena fund already used to make improvements at the city-owned facility.
"The Coyotes are a great team to have downtown. We want them to stay downtown. We want them to stay at America West," Sculley said. "We hope this takes care of it."

 These changes were never made to the America West Arena, since the Coyotes were unhappy with there lease and wanted there own arena.  The Islanders know all to well the effect a terrible lease can have on a franchise.  The Islanders have what is consider the worse lease in sports and it has had a strangle hold on the team since the day they agreed to it in 1986.  The key for any deal concerning the Islanders is going to be the lease.  The lease will be what determines how successful the team will be wherever they play be it Nassau, Suffolk, Brooklyn, Queens, or even if they leave New York.

If the Islanders ever do move to Brooklyn and the team is successful on and off the ice there, the layout of for hockey at the Barclays Center could and would most likely be changed to make accommodations.  I wouldn't expect major changes to the arena at first, but over time if everybody is happy with the deal those changes can and will most likely take place.

May 19, 2012

NIFA Shows Its Power

NIFA has just nixed a 26 million dollar plan for improvements to Aquatic Center in Nassau.  It was believed by many that even if last summer's referendum won the election that NIFA would of killed it.  NIFA is a panel put together by Albany to review and approve Nassau's financial decisions, since they in such bad economic shape.

NIFA is the major challenge Mangano faces if he wants to use taxpayers money towards a new Coliseum.  While Kate Murray is the challenge preventing private development at the site with her joke of a zoning.  Ed Mangano is going have to find away to work with or around both of them if he wants to keep the Islanders in Nassau County.

 Nassau 's financial control board has turned down a $26 million plan to refurbish the county's Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park, but approved a $5.4 million contract to renovate the now-closed police shooting range in Hempstead .

Members of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority questioned the cost of the Aquatic Center project before rejecting a $21.8 million contract with E & A Restoration on Thursday. NIFA staff reported the county had already borrowed $11 million, spent $4 million on new machinery, and wanted to borrow an additional $14.8 million.

Although the center's swimming pool and surrounding building is only 13 years old, high humidity and high air chlorine from an improperly designed heating and air conditioning system damaged the duct work, roof, walls and electrical systems, according to the staff report.

NIFA member Chris Wright said spending that kind of money for a recreation facility is "fiscally imprudent even in a good year." NIFA member Dermond Thomas questioned why the county had not prioritized the work by health and safety issues. Chairman Ronald Stack said the county "could come back with a scaled-down contract, saying exactly what they're going to do.";jsessionid=FF9C278E195D278BCAE61AF6AB1E436D?site=newsday&view=top_stories_item&feed:a=newsday_1min&feed:c=topstories&feed:i=1.3726840

I wonder what Chris Wright would have to say about using county money towards a sports arena then.

May 17, 2012

A Change of Plans in Queens

It seems like Queens is planing to change the Willets Point development due to the amount of infrastructure the site needs and other work.

The city had sought bids for the project, initially conceived in 2007 as another in a line of Bloomberg-backed housing developments on which construction would begin before the mayor left office. But people familiar with the matter said the housing and retail project has become unfeasible as once envisioned, as developers have been unwilling to fully commit given the site's challenges.
The site—an industrial area full of car-repair shops that officials have sought to develop for decades—would cost tens of millions of dollars to clean up, and developers were concerned about being able to quickly lure residents and retailers to the unproven area.
Now, Related and Sterling Equities—controlled by Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz—will take a shot with a revamped plan that delays the housing aspect and introduces a larger retail component next to a world-famous professional sports complex. The USTA National Tennis is also nearby.
The first step for the developers would be to take on a costly 20-acre environmental cleanup and build the new parking lots for the stadium, the people said. They would also be required to build a hotel and a small amount of retail just to the east of Citi Field.
Then they would be able to build more than 800,000 square feet of retail on the parking lots to the west of the stadium. Only then would construction begin of the new neighborhood first envisioned by the Bloomberg administration, with the construction of the 400 apartments and 680,000 square feet of retail. That aspect of the project could grow, the people said.
But the deal injects new uncertainty into the development of the area, for which the city has cleared the use of eminent domain to remove holdout landowners. The agreement calls for the developers to make a $35 million payment to the city if they don't begin construction of the final housing piece by 2025—a relatively large penalty for a development deal, the people said. The developers would also be in danger of being removed from the project if they didn't come through by then, the people said.

It seems like the future of the Queens site is still uncertain and this new turn could effect the possibility of the Islanders making it there future home.  The plan of building a mall in what would be the most likey location for either a soccer stadium or hockey arena doesn't help matters either.  Another issues this creates is that the opposition to this developments have new ground for lawsuits due to the changes.

May 16, 2012

Brooklyn Layout Not A Problem

According to several sports experts in a Brooklyn paper interview the layout of the Barclays Center would not be an issue for the Islanders.

Still, some sports experts say the under-construction arena on Flatbush and Atlantic avenues remains the leading option for the squad, claiming the cramped quarters and odd seating arrangement may benefit a team that only averaged 11,000 spectators per game last year.
“It eliminates some very viable seats especially in the lower half of the venue,” said Ray Katz, a managing partner of Source1 Sports and Flatbush native who teaches sports management at Columbia University. “But it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for that team to have limited seating. It would still be a great thing for Brooklyn.”
The team could even turn lemons into iced lemonade by using some of the arena’s dead space to sell ads and merchandise, Katz said.
“There’s other ways to generate revenue from that side of the arena,” said Katz.
The horseshoe-shaped seating configuration might make the stadium look empty on TV — and its effects could be felt on the ice as well.
During games, one goalie would face fans across the rink while the other would look out onto an empty space behind the opposing net — similar to the center field backdrop in baseball — that could cut down on distractions, said sports consultant Michael Neuman.
“They’ll have to deal with any limitations the Barclays Center has,” said Neuman, the managing partner of Scout Sports and Entertainment, a consulting agency.
Nets spokesman Barry Baum confirmed the seating arrangement, but declined to provide further details.
“We have to see how all the sight lines are and then we’ll move forward,” Baum said.
Arena developer Bruce Ratner has long courted the Islanders. Hockey was originally considered for the arena but the plans were scuttled after Barclays Center’s starchitect Frank Gehry was fired in 2009 and his proposed design was scraped to cut costs.
In January, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he found it hard to believe that a deal couldn’t be hammered out to keep the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. But last month Bettman told the AP that the Barclays Center is a viable alternative.

While the Barclays Center may be flawed in many ways it still seems like the most likely option for the Islanders to stay in New York.  Plus Bruce Ratner has already stated that more seats could be used if the Islanders were to move to the arena full time.  Many of those seats would be consider obstructed, since the near board would be unenviable, but the Barclays Center is positive they can make it work and increase the 14,500 seat capacity.  It is still too early to tell if we will ever find out if the Barcalys Center could be a home for an NHL team, but if something isn't put together soon we may very will find out the answer.

May 14, 2012

Multiple Sites being Looked at in Nassau and Suffolk

According to the latest Newsday article the Islanders are still holding hope that they can stay in Long Island proper.

Sources with knowledge of discussions about other potential local sites said the Coliseum's current location is not the only Long Island option. Belmont Racetrack and spots in Suffolk County, including Suffolk Community College's Brentwood campus, are not off the table, they said.;jsessionid=EEDA69DBD70B0E3F53355CED164E81BB?site=newsday&view=top_stories_item&feed%3Aa=newsday_1min&feed%3Ac=topstories&feed%3Ai=1.3715942

The question still remains whether or not either county can make a deal happen.  Both are in terrible financial situations, so public money seems unlikely, or at least a large enough amount to make an impact does.  Wang has already said he will not submit an RFP for the current site, which is understandable.  He has already went through the process and knows that a fully private development there will not work because of Kate Murray's zoning.  On a positive note Magano has said that since Wang will not submit an RFP he has stop the process, since his goal is to have the Islanders be part of the future development of the hub.

My question about Belmont is since the casino idea there is dead what is the new plan?  Is Mangano going try to make his sport entertainment destination there with the racetrack, arena, and maybe another attraction like a soccer stadium or minor league baseball stadium?  Even if that is the case the biggest question still remains how is he going to pay for it! 

As I stated in my recent post Suffolk has there own economic woes.  However, I did find it interesting that the Newsday article did bring up the Suffolk Community College site (that I brought up on my last post), since that plot is adjacent to Heartland Town Square Project.  Plus its the site that Wang was ready to move the team to if the Lighthouse RFP wasn't picked in 2006.  Could Wang have something up his sleeve with the head of that development project Gerald Wolkoff and is waiting for it to get off the ground to make his move?  Your guess about that is as good as mine. 

The good news is that we know for sure that Wang is looking at least at three of the possible local sites Nassau, Suffolk, and Brooklyn.  We are still unsure if he is looking at Queens since no word has been reported yet, but I would think its a safe bet he is talking to them as well.  The more local municipalities that Wang is willing to talk to the better off Islanders fans are. 

May 13, 2012

Suffolk County Economic Woes

Steve Bellone has been trying to narrow Suffolk County's 533 million dollar deficit, but according to Newsday he still has a lot of work ahead of him.

In the past two weeks, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone sent layoff notices to 315 workers, won approval to compel political appointees to pay up to 25 percent of their health insurance and got county lawmakers to endorse his deficit-reduction plan unanimously.

But when Bellone appears before Wall Street rating agencies Monday for an annual review, he will have to tell them that for all his labors so far, Suffolk is still far from closing its looming $530 million budget chasm.

In part, it is because Bellone inherited a $60 million deficit -- double what he had anticipated. While layoffs will save $11.4 million this year and $24 million next year, those savings were already included in the 2012 budget and do nothing to narrow the shortfall.

Bellone's deficit-cutting plan, which needs time to gear up, will only close $20 million of the estimated $149 million hole for this year, aides said. Because some parts still need state or local legislation, his plan only deals with $136.4 million of next year's $350 million gap. The unanticipated $30 million deficit from last year, plus the gaps this year and in 2013, mean that the county still has a $373 million shortfall to close.;jsessionid=B589764E48E3D2C8B9F0FCF760885B90?site=newsday&view=top_stories_item&feed:a=newsday_1min&feed:c=topstories&feed:i=1.3715771

What does this mean for the Islanders chances of getting an arena in Suffolk County?  It means that a deal for the Islanders to land in Suffolk will not include public money.  The Islanders would most likely have to find a to become part of a private development.  There are a few ways that this could happen:

1) One option could be is joining the Shinnecock tribe with their casino deal.  The tribe is planning to build two casinos in Suffolk County.  Charles Wang does have a history of trying to work with the tribe.  He tried to get a casino built on his Plainview property.  There were also stories about Wang and the tribe wanting to build a casino and arena at the Belmont racetrack.

2) Another option is for Wang trying to join a project that is near development.  One example of a project like this is the Heartland Project.  The Heartland project is a three phase project that will be six times larger than the failed Lighthouse project proposed by Wang.  One thing that might give this option a glimmer of hope is the fact that the Islanders signed a memorandum of understanding in 2006 for a plot of land in the project zone.  The Islanders were willing to move to Brentwood where Suffolk Community College is located.

3) Another possible option is that Suffolk is willing to allow Wang to build the Lighthouse project on a piece of land in Suffolk.  One problem with this idea is the amount of time left before the Islanders need to make a decision by the end of their lease in 2015.  There is a lot of work that would need to be done to make this happen, but nobody knows what is really going on behind the scenes.  Bettman has said that the league and the Isles have been talking to other municipalities in New York.

May 8, 2012

Nassau Is Still Alive According to Botta

According to Chris Botta, the Islanders and Nassau are still trying to keep the team right where they are.

More on the future of the #Isles: both Nassau County and #team sources insist that the ship has not sailed when it comes to the hockey team staying where it most belongs. Charles Wang continues to prioritize completing a deal to stay in Uniondale and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has made it his mission to retain the franchise. It's no secret the clock is ticking and the outlook bleak, but both sides want you to know there will be no sleep 'til Nassau. They might want to go 'round Murray.

May 3, 2012

Can Albany Change the Hub's Development Plan

The Long Island Economic Development Committee has recently proposed an idea where the state will handle the enviromental review for real estate projects.  What would this mean for the Islanders?  It would mean that Kate Murray loses some of her power to prevent a Lighthouse like development, since governor Cuomo would be the one approving the zoning and development for the site. If this idea can become a reality in time the Islanders may have a chance to stay in Nassau County where they belong.  Another impact is that the state could give a project like the Heartland Town Square the green light, which there has been rumors that Wang and Wolkoff might be interested in working together,

Long Island Business News
State eyeing takeover of SEQRA OKs
by David Winzelberg
Published: April 12th, 2012

Long Island economic development officials have proposed a policy change that would shift
environmental review of important regional projects to Albany, sidestepping local foot-dragging
and backbiting.
Locally, the change would affect the redevelopment of such sites as the Nassau Hub, the Enterprise
Park at Calverton and – a clear flash point – the former Cerro Wire site in Syosset, where
Michigan-based Taubman Centers has spent 17 years battling local residents over a proposed mall.
The change was suggested by the local economic development council set up by Gov. Andrew Cuomo
last year and chaired by Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz and Long Island Association chief Kevin
Law. In preparing its strategic plan for the governor, the council noted that many regionally significant
projects “get bogged down at the local level” during the mandated State Environmental Quality
Review, or SEQRA, and that a state agency could “fast-track projects that have been identified as
What the council didn’t say: The reviews are often used by local officials to stall unpopular projects or
arm-twist developers into changes that go well beyond environmental concerns.
No surprise, then, that the proposal brought swift rebuke from the Nassau County Village Officials
Association, which fired off a letter to Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who heads the regional economic
development program, calling the policy change “a serious mistake” that would lead to conflicts
between the state and local municipalities.
The association also accused developers of wanting to circumvent the current system because “they
can’t make their case at the local level.”
Attorney Howard Avrutine, who represents a neighborhood group fighting the Taubman mall, is also
opposed, but on constitutional grounds.
“Especially on Long Island, the concept of home rule is the foundation of local government,” Avrutine
said. “People created villages because they like the feel of them. They want the ability to mold and
shape the way their villages are developed going forward.”
If adopted, the change could impact such projects as Wyandanch Rising, the Hempstead Village
revitalization, Heartland Town Square and the Ronkonkoma Hub, all of which have been identified as
regionally significant in the local council’s strategic plan.
Land use attorney Chris Kent, of Farrell Fritz in Hauppauge, said the council’s recommendation to give
the state the lead is a reaction to localities that have failed to act on developments that have been
identified as real necessities for the region.
“A few local people are unduly influencing elected officials from making tough decisions,” Kent said.
“Sometimes hard decisions have to be made.”
Hofstra’s Rabinowitz agreed: “Many of Long Island’s most important projects get hopelessly delayed in
local review,” he said. “Putting a state agency in charge could significantly reduce the time it takes to
get a shovel in the ground, lowering development costs and helping the region build the kind of smart
economy we think is vital for job growth and future economic vitality.”
David Calone, chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, agreed that the state could speed
up the reviews, while taking the power from municipalities that use it as an impediment to project
“I think it can work,” Calone said. “At the end of the day the decision has to be with the local boards,
but it might make sense for the SEQRA process to be run at a more regional level.”
Long Island Business News > Print > State eyeing takeover of SEQRA OKs
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