9:30 pm: Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano wants to partner with Charles Wang on a development that would consist of a new Coliseum and training facility plus an entertainment and gambling center the quality of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, sources have told Point Blank.
Determined to keep the Islanders in Nassau and find solutions for his budget crisis, Mangano knows Wang is his ideal partner. As a result, the first-year Nassau County Executive has become an Islander fan’s best friend. While Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray did not even mention the hockey franchise in her Lighthouse push-back statements in Monday’s editions of Newsday, Mangano is all about keeping the Islanders in their original county and where they won four Stanley Cups.
“Whether it’s a new arena adjacent to a first-class casino complex or something else, the County Executive wants to explore every option in order to keep the Islanders in Nassau,” a source told Point Blank.
For starters, Mangano is proposing quite a gift: a brand new arena for the Islanders to be built on the available 77 acres of property and be completed two years after the start of construction. The Islanders would not have to wait until 2015 to move in.
A state-of-the-art NHL arena/concert venue combined with a Mohegan Sun-like entertainment and gambling complex makes sense on a lot of levels:
- By partnering with the Islanders on the arena and the Shinnecock tribe on the entertainment complex, Mangano would not need any approvals from the Town of Hempstead.
- After a decade of settling for a “transformed” arena and not the real thing at the insistence of politicians, the Islanders would have the genuine state-of-the-art facility they need to keep up in the NHL. If the team is competitive, free agents would have no more excuses not to sign on. (A new training facility, plus limited retail and office space, would be part of any new arena and also would not need ToH approval).
- If the entertainment complex can be fully realized in scope and profit margins on the level of the best in the East like Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, the revenue needs of the Islanders could be addressed without the Lighthouse battle over residential units. The new casino would include a hotel and would not fall under Kate Murray’s zoning jurisdiction.
In the wake of the Town of Hempstead’s 70% hack of Wang’s County-approved vision for the property surrounding the Coliseum - when Murray spent residents’ money to tell Wang how to spend his money – expect the Islanders owner to remain silent publicly.
However, be assured: there is plenty of discussion behind closed doors between Wang and Mangano. They both want to keep the Islanders in Nassau. Combining their efforts and resources on a new arena and glamorous entertainment center and casino for Long Island, they may have their solution.