Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 08/16/13 at 07:51 PM ET
Even before Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar bought the New York Islanders in 2000 (think: since the "Fishstick" jerseys and John Spano in the mid-90's), the New York Islanders were embroiled in a battle to renovate the Nassau Coliseum, and thoughout the Wang era, whether it was through Wang's "Lighthouse Project" or various referendums, the Islanders were never able to find a way to receive any sort of taxpayer subsidization to address the rinkety rink's numerous issues.
So this evening, even having followed the Daniel Alfredsson mess over the past week, I'm giving this story the, "Biggest What the *#$%@&? Moment of the Week" award.
With the Islanders heading to Brooklyn to play at the Barclay's Center, the Associated Press reports that the Barclay's Center's builders have landed a contract to finally renovate the rink and develop the surrounding real estate--after a decade-and-a-half of intense legal wrangling:
On Thursday, officials in this New York City suburb announced that a business group responsible for the construction of the recently opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn would oversee a $229 million renovation of the 41-year-old Long Island arena. The plan still needs the approval of the county legislature, but observers say the GOP majority in the legislature would likely go along with Republican County Executive Edward Mangano’s recommendation.
Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, which built the Barclays Center, said he expects renovations to begin in 2015 and be completed after about 18 months. In addition to the sports arena, Ratner envisions a bowling alley, movie theatres, restaurants and other amenities will be built on the 77-acre property, one of the largest parcels of open space remaining in the densely crowded suburb.
Discussions on renovating the coliseum, which opened in 1972, have been going on for a decade or longer.
After voters rejected a 2011 referendum to borrow $400 million to renovate the coliseum, the Islanders announced they would move to the new arena in Brooklyn following the 2015 season. Under the agreement announced Thursday, the Islanders will return to Nassau County to play six games a season in the renovated building.
Ratner also announced the Brooklyn Nets, who called the Nassau Coliseum home when they played in the American Basketball Association in the 1970s, would hold an open practice and play one exhibition game a year in the Long Island facility.
"This is a tremendous responsibility and we are grateful for the county’s confidence and trust," said Brett Yormark, Barclays Center CEO.
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