Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY is one of the most famous stadiums on Long Island that once hosted professional hockey matches and rock concerts. According to sources familiar with the situation, Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Nassau County’s behalf, plans to shut down the arena in Uniondale permanently while it looks for partners to take over the building’s operations and pay off the facility’s debt.
The company has told possible investors that it will surrender the lease in exchange for 100 million dollars worth of property-related debt in exchange for surrendering the lease, according to one source, who requested anonymity due to the nature of the discussions. According to the individual, the company might relinquish the lease to its lenders as a result of its plan to lay off staff at the arena.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, the economy in New York and across the country has been virtually shut down. In addition to that, the Coronavirus also put a stop to the Nassau Hub redevelopment project, which involves the construction of numerous offices, apartments, and retail spaces around the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on around 70 acres of parking lots.
“The unforeseeable and extraordinary Covid-19 issue has caused havoc on the Coliseum’s operations and finances,” Onexim stated in a statement. The Coliseum and its adjacent land development have enormous long-term economic value. But we know that third parties will be better able to realize that value.”
Uniondale, New York’s arena was officially named Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum when it opened in 1972. It has been an integral part of Long Island life for many years.
During the decades of its operation, it served as the home of the Islanders for more than forty years, including the four consecutive Stanley Cup championships they achieved in the 1980s. Its operators put Billy Joel’s name on a banner and hung it from the rafters to commemorate his visits to the Coliseum.
Islanders moved in 2015 to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the NBA club owned by Prokhorov also shared the facility. The arena was closed in 2015 for a $180 million renovation. In addition to concerts, minor-league basketball games, and professional lacrosse games, the Coliseum hosts around 200 events each year since reopening in 2017.
The Empire State Building will be the home of all Islanders’ home games for the 2020-21 season, after being announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in February. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, there is uncertainty about when sports leagues will resume and whether spectators can attend games.
As the Islanders build a brand new arena at Belmont Park, the Coliseum’s events industry will be up against the new competition when the Coliseum reopens.
I believe that prospective investors in the Coliseum may be more interested in the development potential of the surrounding area. Upon taking the site over, Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR Realty, who has worked with Onexim to develop the redevelopment plan, is certain “the successors to Onexim will want to maximize the land’s value through the most active development possible.”
A pandemic-related issue has prompted Rechler’s business to examine how land should be used if a virus were to spread. Despite Onexim’s impending withdrawal, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has expressed hope that the project will continue.
Curran said in a statement that the county is “encouraged” that Onexim is in contact with their bankers and other possible investors. “For Nassau to begin to recover economically, transforming the Hub site is even more critical than before the pandemic.”
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