Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Right Choice for Nassau County

This press conference was so very much like so many others I had actually attended for the Light House Project. The difference was I was watching it on line and Charles Wang was no where to be found. No. This was Bruce Ratner and Ed Mangano’s day. Their show. The Islanders were just a very tiny part of Ratner's team represented only by Matt Martin.
Below are a few of the comments that struck me the most during the presser which you can find on line in it’s entirety.
Rob Walker opened the press conference and introduced County Executive Ed Mangano with a good deal of fanfare touting his record of bringing 6,600 jobs back to Nassau county. “There is nothing more exciting than building, developing and going to work every day.”
He mentioned there is “No reward unless you take risks.” For Charles Wang there were risks and expenses and no reward at all.
Mr. Walker also said that Ed Mangano did “the right thing for the residents of Nassau county. He will never raise taxes because he’s looking at growth in jobs.” That is a very bold statement for any politician.
When Mr. Mangano took the podium he mentioned that Long Island icon Billy Joel called him to offer his support. He said he was “Protecting the Nassau County tax payer.” As the project will be no cost to the tax payer.
And then, with all the County and Town of Hempstead dignitaries in the room, he said it “After a decade of NO’s, we’re turning it in to a resounding ‘YES’ for progress.” When Bruce Ratner took the podium he thanked everyone for coming to the Coliseum for the presser and said it won’t look like the current Coliseum, “It will look beautiful. I guarantee it.” That’s a big guarantee.
“For too many years the county has struggled to reinvent itself. Thanks to Ed Mangano and his deputy, you did the right thing and made the right choice and we will prove it to you.” Mr. Ratner applauded “The process” as being the most professional. He threw in a little side comment “It’s got us to sign a lease ahead of time. Never done that before.”
That was the difference between the Ratner proposal and the MSG proposal. Mr. Ratner received a resounding round of applause when he said he would use “Union only labor. We’re a Union only company.” Again, I had heard that before.
The new arena promises 300 events per year and he said 200 have already been committed to. He made a promise of jobs and revenue. He has “One commitment: Get it done, get it done well.”
Brett Yormark took the podium and said the development is a “…tremendous responsibility and we are grateful for the county’s trust. We will bring the best to Nassau.”
Kate Murray was there all smiles after she spent yesterday and had a great time at the American idol concert. “Thinking what a great time to see a new Coliseum built by the men of labor. Thanks Ed Mangano for not raising taxes and soliciting the best developer any where.” She said she was eager to see the details of the NEC proposal. “Hempstead board is ready to work with he County and the developer on the iconic project.”
“Iconic.” that was always the word the Lighthouse project used. Murray said the Town Of Hempstead had already designed a blueprint that lets the developers know how they can build: height, scope, size, etc.
Murray presented Ratner a brief case that she called a “blueprint for a party” with a photo-shopped picture of Jay-Z and Ratner holding a photo of the rendering of the new coliseum.
At the end of the press conference, Ratner was presented with a giant pair of scissors to cut the ribbon on the new Coliseum when it happens. He tried to put it them in his pocket.
Randi Marshall of Newsday asked about the Islanders playing the proposed six games at the new Coliseum and he said it was ultimately the decision of the NHL but “I don’t think it will be an issue”
Ratner also said it was important to him to have a monument to the veterans at the site and it will be like Bryant park with concerts and ice skating and surrounded by retail.
“Something spectacular, not regular.” That is his vision.
Construction would start in late June of 2015, since the Isles will be in the playoffs, and the construction should be finished by September of 2017. “Good thing the arena has good bones. Not taking something down. It’s built well.” They are still saying they want an AHL team to play at the new Coliseum and would love the Sound Tigers, but they have to come to an agreement with CBW. The statement the Sound Tigers issued did not sound promising.
The Sound Tigers released a statement to Islanders Point Blank as follows:
“Our agreement with the City of Bridgeport ends on August 31st, 2020. We have seven years remaining on this deal. The Sound Tigers have an agreement to play in Webster Bank Arena until then and plan on doing so until we hear otherwise from our owner. There is no agreement in place between the Islanders organization and the Ratner Group or Barclays Center. The Sound Tigers love being in Bridgeport and absolutely plan on spending at least the next seven AHL seasons here”

When asked if the Islanders would be leaving the property sooner than their lease expiration, the answer was still ambiguous. While they could get out of the lease with the County, the announced play is to stay the full two seasons.
Now, where rumors are concerned, I have heard so many. While some are saying that this has opened the door to the NY Islanders returning to Nassau County after the new building is completed, everyone involved says "No way."
For now, let’s enjoy the idea that the Islanders legacy will remain in Uniondale.
I'd like to thank fellow blog box buddy Christian Arnold for excellent reporting and the use of his photo. Daily Christian proves what an excellent, and hard working journalist he is.

No comments: