NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was supposed to be complete and ready at the end of the year, so has the renovation of the Nassau Coliseum stalled?
On Wednesday, developers gave CBS2 a sneak peek at what’s happening behind the scenes.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, a new and improved coliseum is supposed to be coming soon, but four months since breaking ground it doesn’t look that way from the outside.
Inside, the transformation is in progress.
“We are on time, and we are on budget, just where we want to be,” developer Bruce Ratner said.
Ratner said despite a 3 month delay for labor negotiations, overhauling the outdated coliseum will take one more year as planned. The arena is now gutted with demolition and asbestos removal underway.
Planners said to get ready for a huge upgrade, a modern facade, a grand lobby, and a new minor league basketball team.
Gone are the 1970s concession stands that clogged hallways. There will be a new beer garden, lounges, and double the bathrooms.
There will also be better circulation within the arena, because nearly 4,000 seats have been ripped out. Planners said the new capacity 13,000 is what the original coliseum was actually designed for.
Reduced capacity has been a sore point with Islanders fans who have been reeling since the team’s move to Brooklyn.
The Isles had promised to come home for 6 games per season, but even that is unclear. The team is being sold and the NHL must sign off on the smaller arena. Officials offered optimism.
“The statement of fact is that there will be six Islander games, two exhibition, four regular season. Who knows what the future holds,” Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano said.
Just last week the Association for a Better Long Island, a developers group blasted the pace of the project calling it a tepid makeover that doesn’t represent local interests.
“Long Islanders have been expelled from this process and that is a concern, so I’d like to see a lot more transparency,” Laureen Harris said.
Officials called it a historic public-private partnership, and expect doors to open next March.
The development is privately funded. You may recall Nassau County voters turned down a referendum to build a new coliseum with taxpayer money.