NHL team’s bid for Belmont Park site approved

An Islanders fans pleads for a new hockey arena at Belmont Park during a July meeting that was held to discuss the future of the available space surrounding the famous track.
Photo by Naeisha Rose
By Zach Gewelb

The New York Islanders are coming back to Nassau County.

The hockey franchise, which moved from its home in Nassau to Brooklyn before the start of the 2015-16 NHL season, was informed Tuesday that its proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park was selected as the winning bid. Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hold a news conference Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. to make the official announcement at Belmont.

The Islanders’ bid was chosen over a proposal from the New York City Football Club and includes an 18,000-seat arena in addition to 435,000 square feet of space for retail, a hotel that would have a capacity of 200-250 rooms, and an innovation that would be developed with input from residents.

Everything will go up in the under-used parking lots adjacent to the famous race track.

The Islanders, which currently call Barclays Center home, have an opt-out in their 25-year licensing agreement coming up in January. The team is negotiating with the venue on amending the lease.

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said the team will continue to play at Barclays through next season.

The team has been averaging just 11,642 fans per game, which is the worst in the league and 3,692 less than their final season in Nassau.

No time table has been announced for completion of the project.

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

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