The Lighthouse Project

For the EP by amiina, see The Lighthouse Project (EP).
The Lighthouse Project
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Rendering of the completed project
General information
Type Mixed use
Location Uniondale, New York
Estimated completion cancelled

The Lighthouse Project, officially named The Lighthouse at Long Island, was a proposed transformation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the area surrounding it into a modern suburban area. The project was first introduced by New York Islanders owner, Charles Wang. The base of the project is a newly renovated Coliseum for the New York Islanders to play in. Surrounding the Coliseum would be houses, hotels (Long Island's first 5-star hotel), offices, restaurants, and various stores. There would also be an athletic complex, conference and exhibition facilities, and a minor league baseball ballpark.[1]


The Lighthouse Project was expected to take 8 to 10 years to be completed, and cost about $3.74 billion. The investors expected the project generate $71 million of annual tax revenues, and create about 75,000 construction and construction-related jobs. After the project is finished, 19,000 new permanent jobs are expected to come from it.[1] Many believe the project being approved is the only way that Wang can keep the Islanders on Long Island, rather than selling the team.[2] However, Nassau County residents voted against building a new arena for the Islanders on August 1, 2011.[3]

Proposal

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is currently the second-oldest arena in active use by an NHL team (after Madison Square Garden), and has the second smallest capacity of all arenas in the NHL (after MTS Centre). Nassau County asked for and received proposals from different development groups regarding how to renovate and build up the coliseum and surrounding area. Islanders owner Charles Wang proposed a plan to develop the area surrounding the arena; his plan originally included a renovation of the Coliseum, a 60-story tower designed to look like a lighthouse, housing, athletic facilities, a new minor league baseball stadium, restaurants, and a new hotel, at a projected overall cost of approximately $200 million.[4] On August 14, 2007, Charles Wang and the Lighthouse Development Group, partnered with Rexcorp, created a new plan downsizing the entire project. The Coliseum design changed considerably, and the 60 story "Lighthouse" was replaced with two 30-story buildings connected by a footbridge.

Developments

In February 2009, local media speculated that Charles Wang, frustrated with the slow pace of obtaining approval for the project from the Town of Hempstead, would consider relocating the team. The team would be eligible to move when its lease with Nassau County ends in 2015. The Islanders played a 2009 preseason game for Kansas City, Missouri, which is considered a possible candidate for relocation. There is also a movement to have the Islanders play adjacent to Citi Field, the home ballpark of the New York Mets, in the Willets Point section of Queens should the team leave Nassau County.[5] Wang has said that he wants the team to remain where it is, but has also said that he would be forced to explore other options if significant steps are not made by the Town of Hempstead in regard to approving the project by October 2009. Local papers such as Newsday and the Daily News speculated that this could mean Charles Wang would consider moving the team to an area such as Queens or Brooklyn, where the Barclays Center is being built for the New Jersey Nets.[6][7] Financing documents for the arena released in December 2009 indicate that “The New York Islanders could potentially become a tenant” at the Barclays Center.[8] The Islanders' agreement with the New York Rangers allows them to relocate anywhere on Long Island, including Brooklyn and Queens.[9]

In May 2009, Newsday reported that Wang had subsidized the team by $208.8 million, an average of $23 million per year since buying it, beyond what he paid for it.[2]

After the October 2009 deadline passed, the Long Island Press reported that the plug was being pulled on the Lighthouse Project.[10] Wang has denied the report.[11]

In May 2010, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon has had discussions with Wang about constructing a new arena for the Islanders near Citi Field. Wilpon has also discussed the possibility of buying the Islanders.[12] In June 2010, the website FanHouse reported that Jeff and Fred Wilpon, the owner of the Mets, began working with real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (who is also working on the renovation of Madison Square Garden) on a feasibility study of a new Islanders arena in Queens.[13] However, a source from Newsday has indicated that the FanHouse report is not true.[14] There are also reports that businessman Nelson Peltz wanted to buy the Islanders and move them to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.[15]

On May 11, 2011, the Islanders and Nassau County executives announced that county residents would vote on a referendum for taxpayer funding for a new arena for the New York Islanders on August 1.[16]

On August 1, 2011, voters in Nassau County rejected a proposal for a new arena to replace the Nassau Coliseum. [3]

On October 24, 2012, it was formally announced that the New York Islanders would be moving to the Barclays Center for the 2015-16 NHL season.

References

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