|Location||Elmont, New York, U.S.|
|Owner||New York Arena Partners, LLC|
|Operator||New York Islanders|
|Broke ground||2019 (planned)|
|Construction cost||$1 billion (including development)|
|New York Islanders (NHL) (2021–)|
The Belmont Park Arena is the tentative name of a $1 billion multi-purpose arena and development in the northeastern United States, located in Elmont, New York, just east of the New York City limits. Groundbreaking and construction is scheduled for 2019, and completion is expected in 2021. It will serve as the home of the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The Lighthouse Project
In 2004, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (the Islanders' first home) was the second-oldest arena in active use by an NHL team (after Madison Square Garden), and also had the smallest capacity of all arenas in the NHL at that time (although the venue now known as Bell MTS Place, which opened in 2004, was smaller, it did not become home to an NHL team until 2011). Nassau County asked for and received proposals from different development groups regarding how to renovate and build up the coliseum and surrounding area. Then-Islanders owner Charles Wang proposed a plan to develop the area surrounding the arena; his plan originally included a renovation of the Coliseum, a 60-story tower designed to look like a lighthouse, housing, athletic facilities, a new minor league baseball stadium, restaurants, and a new hotel, at a projected overall cost of approximately $200 million. On August 14, 2007, Charles Wang and the Lighthouse Development Group, partnered with Rexcorp, created a new plan downsizing the entire project. The Coliseum design changed considerably, and the 60 story "Lighthouse" was replaced with two 30-story buildings connected by a footbridge. The overall project was slated to cost roughly $3.75 billion.
Construction was not planned to begin until at least mid-2009. Nassau County approved the Lighthouse Project in 2006 on a 16–2 vote, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was completed after a state-mandated environmental review. The Lighthouse Project was then expected to go before the Town of Hempstead for approval on a change in land zoning. However, the approval was never granted. After the October 2009 deadline passed, the Long Island Press reported the Lighthouse Project's cancellation.
On July 12, 2010, Town Supervisor Kate Murray (R-Hempstead) announced an “alternate zone” created for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum property, downsizing the original Lighthouse Project to half its proposed size and making the project, according to then-Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and the developers, "economically unviable for both the developer and owner of the site." From this point, the Lighthouse Project would no longer be pursued by Wang, Mangano and the developers.
In May 2010, Jeff Wilpon, COO of the New York Mets of Major League Baseball, had discussions with Wang about constructing a new arena for the Islanders in the Willets Point neighborhood of Queens, adjacent to the Mets' ballpark, Citi Field. Wilpon has also discussed the possibility of buying the Islanders. In June 2010, the website FanHouse reported that Jeff and Fred Wilpon, the owner of the Mets, began working with real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (who is also working on the renovation of Madison Square Garden) on a feasibility study of a new Islanders arena in Queens. However, a source from Newsday indicated that the FanHouse report was not true. There were also reports that businessman Nelson Peltz wanted to buy the Islanders and move them to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
On May 11, 2011, the Islanders and Nassau County executives announced that county residents would vote on a referendum for approval of a $400 million public bond issue for a new plan to replace the Coliseum. The plan, including the construction of a new $350 million arena as well as a $50 million minor league baseball ballpark nearby, was presented by Wang as a last-ditch effort to keep the Islanders in Nassau County. However, voters in Nassau County rejected a proposal by a 57% to 43% margin on August 1, 2011.
Since the Islanders moved to Barclays Center, there have been numerous complaints about obstructed view seats, due to the fact that the arena's Frank Gehry original ice hockey-friendly design was scrapped in 2009 to break ground earlier over a tax-exemption deadline, giving taxpayer funds to Forest City Ratner, a decision made by its executive chairman Bruce Ratner.
The result was a hockey configuration in which the scoreboard is off-centered above the blue line, and an asymmetrical seating configuration with only three rows of permanent seating on the northwest end of the arena. As a result, many seats are obstructed, with several hundred not sold at all. Business Insider has called sections 201 to 204 and 228 to 231, "the worst seat in American professional sports". In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark acknowledged the issue, but insisted nothing can be done: "There's really nothing we’re going to do from a capital improvement standpoint. You can watch the game on your mobile device. The game is on the scoreboard." There have been numerous complaints about the quality of the ice during hockey games. The arena uses PVC piping instead of steel piping under the ice surface, making it much harder to maintain NHL standards and temperature.
Planning and design
On December 20, 2017, it was announced that the Islanders won a bid to build a new 19,000-seat arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, beating out a competing proposal by New York City FC of Major League Soccer for their soccer-specific stadium project.
New York Arena Partners proposes to build a mixed-use entertainment complex that will include an approximately 60,000-square foot, 19,000-seat multi-use arena that will be home to the New York Islanders; a 435,000-square foot retail, dining and entertainment village; a 193,000-square foot hotel; and 10,000 square feet of offices and parking.
- Baumbach, Jim (January 15, 2018). "Islanders' Belmont Arena Would Take About 3 Years to Open". Newsday. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "Cuomo, Islanders Make Belmont Official". New York Islanders. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Young, Monte R. (September 28, 2004). "Visions of $200M Renovation". Newsday. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
- Moore, Elizabeth (March 10, 2009). "Even Without Stimulus, Nassau Committed to Lighthouse". Newsday. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
- Rieber, Anthony (March 4, 2009). "Papers Reveal Isles Will Leave Without Lighthouse OK". Newsday. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- Martino, Jr., Michael (October 14, 2009). "Press Exclusive: Plug Is Pulled On Lighthouse". Long Island Press. Archived from the original on October 16, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
- "Zoning move cuts Lighthouse in half". LIHerald.com. July 12, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- Mennella, Dan (May 12, 2010). "Mets, Isles talk about arena near Citi". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Botta, Christoper (June 14, 2010). "Mets Owners Working With Real Estate Firm on Queens Arena for Islanders". Fanhouse. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- Hirshon, Nicholas (January 7, 2011). "Brooklyn-Queens battle for the Islanders team brewing". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- "Last chance for Islanders? Arena plans rest on Aug. 1 vote". Yahoo! Sports.
- Gretz, Adam (October 24, 2012). "New York Islanders will move to Brooklyn in 2015". CBS Sports. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- Arak, Joey (June 4, 2009). "BREAKING: Gehry's Atlantic Yards Arena Design Dropped". Curbed NY. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Raskin, Alex (October 2, 2015). "The Good Views and Bad Views About Barclays Center". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Everything You Need to Know About Barclays Center's Hockey Configuration". New York Magazine. September 13, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- Garber, Jonathan (October 12, 2015). "Brooklyn's Barclays Center might have the worst seat in American professional sports". Business Insider.
- Fuchs, Jeremy (February 3, 2016). "Islanders tackling many challenges during first season in Brooklyn". Sports Illustrated.
- "In Year 2, Barclays Center Ice Still a Problem". lighthousehockey.com. October 22, 2016.
- "It's official: New York Islanders heading back to Nassau County". WABC. New York. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- "Belmont Park Redevelopment-Conditional Designation of New YorkArena Partners ("NYAP") as Developer" (PDF). esd.ny.gov. December 19, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
Barclays Center &
| Home of the
New York Islanders