Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke Says State-Of-The-Art Building Is 'The Best Hockey Arena Ever Built In New York'By Lisa Rozner

ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — As the New York Islanders continue their run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, their new home is almost ready.

UBS Arena at Belmont Park is expected to open around Thanksgiving, and will also be a world-class home for sports, concerts and festivals.

CBS2’s Lisa Rozner got an exclusive look inside on Wednesday.

Finishing touches are being put on the façade of the arena.

“We had to custom design the brick,” Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke said.

UBS Arena (Photo: CBS2)

And arches, a mirror image of the historic Belmont Park racetrack. It’s the last step to protect the $1 billion building from rain.

“So those last few archways, that’s the highest priority,” Leiweke said.

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Eight hundred workers are on site daily, and that number will double in the months to come.

Once finished, most customers will enter through the grand atrium, with steps and escalators leading to all levels.

“It’s also designed like the old Grand Central Station, so when you walk in here you’ll feel like you’re back in 1920,” Leiweke said.

Artist renderings will pay homage to the history of the area, from horse racing to aviation, and there are three different balconies with outdoor restaurants.

“You are going to be able to sit here and watch the race on the day of the Belmont Stakes,” Leiweke said.

And inside the nearly 18,000-seat hockey arena, the scoreboard is about to go up. It will be able to project movies onto the ice.

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You can get a feel for what the arena is going to look like. The seats have already been installed in the top levels and in the lower bowl, the area closer to the floor. It is going to be one of the largest in the metropolitan area.

One section of the lower bowl is retractable, and that will be the stage for concerts.

“We can get 4,000 people standing on the floor for a concert,” Leiweke said. “Here, we built an entire compound that is just for musical artists. An artist walks out of their green room, takes five steps, five, and they walk onto the stage.”

(Photo: New York Arena Partners LLC.)

The arena is equipped with the largest loading dock east of the Mississippi.

“Sixteen total semi trucks can park here,” Leiweke said.

And coming out of the pandemic, four massive air circulation systems have been installed.

“We have 80% more air flow in this building than the Nassau Coliseum,” Leiweke said.

The locker room is more than twice the size of one in an average arena.

“This is like a group of fans that for 30 years has been wandering around the desert without a home. They finally not only have an arena, they technically have the best hockey arena ever built in New York,” Leiweke said.

Here’s a fun fact: The arena will have more restrooms than any other in the metropolitan area.

Also, going up outside is a hotel and retail. It’s expected to generate $100 million of economic activity every year and create at least 800 jobs.