The borough of Brooklyn is back as a potential destination for the New York Islanders, an NHL source tells Point Blank.
As municipalities continue to express interest in Charles Wang’s hockey team, the most recent approach has come from the leaders of the Barclays Centre project that hopes to bring the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn. According to sources, other potential suitors include Queens, Kansas City and a still-undisclosed city in Canada.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Nets owner Bruce Ratner is close to selling a majority stake in his basketball team to Mikhail Prokhorov, an avid sports fan and – with a personal fortune of $9 billion – believed to be the wealthiest person in Russia. On Thursday, Ratner won state approval to build an $800 million arena in Brooklyn. Ratner and Wang have met over the last few years to discuss their plans for their respective teams and the potential of the Nets playing a regular season game at the Nassau Coliseum. They are said to enjoy a cordial relationship.
During the five-year struggle to develop the 22-acre residential and commercial project in Brooklyn, the arena has been designed in some plans to accommodate an NHL franchise and some for concerts and basketball only. Having teams from both the NBA and the NHL could get the Barclays Centre project much closer to reality.
In recent weeks, as the Town of Hempstead and Lighthouse developers continue to disagree on major aspects of the project, Brooklyn has emerged as a serious suitor for the Islanders. Wang has asked for certainty from the Town by Oct. 3, the day of his team’s home opener.
“Wang’s wish is still to keep the Islanders in Nassau County,” said the source. “He won’t let his people talk to Kansas City or Brooklyn or anywhere else until his deadline passes. But if things continue the way they have with Hempstead, at least Charles has attractive options in New York.”
Lighthouse Hearing on Tuesday: The Lighthouse zoning hearing is this Tuesday, Sept. 22 at the Adams Playhouse on the campus of Hofstra University. There will be sessions from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, 2-5:00 pm and 6-9:00 pm. We’re told that the majority of speakers are scheduled and the most action is expected to take place in two windows: from 9-11 am and 6-8 pm.
Since the Town declined the resident and fan-friendly recommendation to combine the zoning hearing with the enviromental hearing on Aug. 4, the Sept. 22 event seems to be falling through the cracks. While the Aug. 4 hearing had tons of buzz, was kicked off by a pro-Lighthouse rally and opened in the morning to a full house at Hofstra, there appears to be little momentum towards Tuesday. The most noise has been coming from a coalition of Garden City residents planning to speak against the Lighthouse.
If the zoning hearing does not feature the level of support demonstrated on Aug. 4 it could be a major setback for the Lighthouse Project. The call is out to stand up one more (last?) time. If this project and/or the New York Islanders are important to you, find an hour or seven to show up and be heard on Tuesday.