Looks like the Islanders will have a new home. New York State has approved their plan for a hockey-centric arena next to Belmont Park on the Queens-Nassau border. Once it’s gotten all the necessary financing and land use approvals, the Isles will leave Barclays Center, which just about everyone now realizes was a bad idea.
How soon will the NHL team leave? That’s not settled, but various reports indicate that Mikhail Prokhorov’s Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment would like to see the Islanders make one more stop before settling down at Belmont.
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which runs Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum, wants the Islanders out of Barclays Center ASAP. According to Rich Calder of the Post, Prokhorov believes Barclays Center could see a “cash windfall” if the poorly attended Islander games are replaced by concerts and other attractions.
They’ll play at least next season in Brooklyn, then BS&E would like them to take up temporary digs at Nassau Coliseum where of course the Islanders played until Prokhorov and Bruce Ratner decided to renovate it.
Of course, the Islanders will have to find financing —hundreds of millions of dollars worth— for an arena that will be the fifth new or newly renovated arena in the metropolitan area. Besides Barclays and Nassau, there’s Madison Square Garden and the Prudential Center. IZOD Center is shuttered and seen as outmoded.
In addition, there are already rumblings of legal action to stop the arena. As Newsday’s Jim Baumbach and Robert Brodsky report, a handful of local groups, argue that the state failed to follow state law requiring its economic development agency to establish a community advisory council to address the community’s concerns about the development.
But there is an Islander constituency on the Island.
Meanwhile, Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, tweeted out his feelings on the departure of the Isles, who his predecessor welcomed.
There’s only one #Brooklyn team for @BarclaysCenter and that’s the @BrooklynNets. We wish the @NYIslanders well on their journey to Belmont and they should consider Nassau Coliseum in the interim period.— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) December 19, 2017
So much for the “ironclad” 25-year lease Ratner bragged about when announcing the Islanders move to Brooklyn.
- Sources: Islanders’ arena bid picked for Belmont Park - Jim Baumbach and Robert Brodsky - Newsday
- Islanders get Belmont Park site - Rich Calder - New York Post