UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Islanders fans will be relieved to hear that a tentative deal has been reached to keep the team in Nassau County. On Thursday, the county executive released details of the new arena proposal that will be put to a public vote on Aug. 1.
Next comes the big question: what is the cost to taxpayers?
The lease agreement would keep the Islanders in Nassau through 2045 and would guarantee $14 million per year in payments to the county — no matter where the Islanders play or how much they earn.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall In Uniondale
Islanders owner Charles Wang told CBS 2’s John Slattery the current Coliseum, built in 1972 and for decades a venue for concerts, wrestling, boxing and the home of the Islanders, who won four Stanley Cup championships in the early ’80s, is obsolete and that a new arena would, “attract first-rate family events, family shows and sporting events.”
County Executive Ed Mangano said a new arena would generate $1.2 billion in revenue. It would cost $350 million to build — $433 million in debt service — and would provide $403 million in profit over the term of the lease.
“When the debt service is paid off, residents will continue to receive millions of revenue. It’s similar to paying off your mortgage, renting your home, and keeping all the income,” Mangano told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
“The project itself pays for itself and there will be a net profit to the taxpayers,” Mangano said.
And those behind the plan said the county would get more than 11.5 percent of everything sold in the building.
“You sell a pretzel for a dollar, 11 and a half percent goes to Nassau County,” Mangano said.
But one county legislator said she wants an independent firm to crunch the numbers.
“Okay, we have to say stop for a minute. We have to have somebody analyze it and see if this is for real,” Democrat Judy Jacobs said.
However, Wang said the time for analyzing the site has long since passed. It’s time to get something done.
“The economy is not going to fix itself. We have to make decisions on opportunities that can be a catalyst for improving our businesses,” Wang said.
It is believed the new arena, if passed, would also put people back to work to the tune of 3,000 permanent and 1,500 new construction jobs. Mangano has also said there would be no increase to property taxes.
Of course, all of this is predicated on the public referendum and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority approving the plan.
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