$229M Project Would Be Paid For Private Investors

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s taken more than 40 years, but Nassau County officials are about to vote on a deal for a new and improved coliseum.

As WCBS 880’s Monical Miller reported, county leaders will vote Monday on a plan by developer Bruce Ratner to renovate the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and build a retail and entertainment complex that would include restaurants, an ice rink, a bowling alley and a movie theater.

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The price tag for the project is $229 million. Ratner has agreed to spare taxpayers by spending his own money and lining up private investors.

The arena once hosted the Stanley Cup Finals and superstar performers such as Elvis Presley and Madonna. But it has become rundown over the past four decades, and the Islanders are set to leave for Brooklyn following the 2014-15 season.

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In August, Ratner’s group said it envisioned a renovated coliseum hosting championship boxing matches and college and minor league sports. The Islanders will also return to play six games a year there.

But economists told Newsday that, while the deal will bring in millions of dollars to the county, they’re concerned the coliseum won’t generate the revenue needed to pay $4.4 million in rent each year.

Ratner would also have his work cut out for him, negotiating labor agreements and finding a minor league hockey team to replace the Islanders.

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