Southeast Queens leaders welcome economic development that comes with opening of UBS Arena

Several southeast Queens officials joined Governor Kathy Hochul as she officially opened UBS Arena bringing economic development to the area. (Photo courtesy of Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)

Southeast Queens elected officials were on hand for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new $1.1 billion multipurpose, state-of-the-art UBS Arena located at Belmont Park, the new home of the New York Islanders.

Future phases of the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project will include a 350,000-square-foot destination entertainment and retail complex, a 250-room hotel and a community center that will become an economic engine as southeast Queens recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Responsible, community-led economic development is essential to bringing New York back,” state Senator Leroy Comrie said. “It took quite a bit of doing, but we are finally crossing the finish line and looking forward to an economic boost for the region and the state.”

UBS Arena will host more than 150 major events annually and is designed to hold up to 19,000 people for concerts and audiences up to 17,250 for NHL games.

“I honestly have never been a hockey fan, but to me, this is a win-win because the islanders have one of the best fan bases in the NHL and with the easy access provided by the new Long Island Rail Road station, that fan base will have easy access to our neighborhoods of Queens Village and Cambria Heights,” Comrie said. “It will bring the opportunity for economic development to our restaurants and businesses and create so many jobs in hotel and retail management.”

UBS Arena in Elmont is now open to the public. (Photo courtesy of Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)

Comrie added that 15 employment fairs have been held already in his district, and more than 500 of his constituents have been hired so far for permanent and seasonal jobs. He also thanked southeast Queens community leaders who served on the Advisory Council and others who stood up and spoke about what needed to be done to preserve and protect neighborhood integrity while having a vision to move their communities forward.

“Queens is thrilled to welcome the New York Islanders to our immediate area, but we’re also thrilled about the job creation and economic activity benefitting our borough that the opening of the spectacular new UBS Arena will generate,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Here’s to bringing home the Stanley Cup for the Islanders and bringing home the bacon for both Queens and Nassau County.”

Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, an Islanders season ticket holder, called the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project a great example of when government and private partnerships work.

“We are excited to have the New York Islanders and the UBS Arena as our neighbors,” Vanel said. “Along with great events, we anticipate it being a jobs hub for our community. We are also excited to have a new Long Island Rail Road station. The UBS Arena will be a great place to create memories for years to come.”

The Queens Chamber of Commerce is excited to see the UBS Arena open its doors after two years of construction. The Chamber said they’ve developed a relationship with Islanders, and commend them for an “impressive job engaging the business community in southeast Queens.”

“In turn, we’ve seen real excitement from our members in the area who understand the positive impact being so close to a world-class sports and entertainment venue will have on their businesses,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “We believe UBS Arena will be a transformative project for southeast Queens and our neighbors in Nassau County, This venue will be one of [the best], if not the best, arenas in the National Hockey League. It will not only draw fans from Queens and Long Island but also attract hockey fans from throughout North America. This, coupled with a full schedule of concerts and other events that bring visitors to the area, will catalyze economic activity that supports small businesses and creates jobs.”

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