With a New York Islanders arena project taking shape, officials are discussing potential Belmont Park renovations.
In December, Empire State Development chose a bid from a contingent that includes the Islanders, Oak View Group, and Sterling Project Development to redevelop land at Belmont Park. Planning for that project is currently underway, with the Islanders hoping to complete construction on a new 18,000-seat arena in time for the 2021-22 NHL season.
While the arena is the centerpiece of the Islanders’ bid, it is one actually component in a larger development plan that includes a hotel, retail, outdoor space, offices, a movie theater, and more. In anticipation of that development, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) is exploring the possibility of renovating facilities at the Belmont Park racetrack. Upgrades to the racetrack would take place separately from the arena plans, but they could allow the facility to capitalize from the upcoming development. More from Newsday:
NYRA, which operates 445-acre Belmont Park, says it has assembled a team of sports development consultants following Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s December announcement that the Islanders won the development rights to 43 acres of state-owned land at Belmont.
NYRA wants to modernize the racetrack operations to take advantage of the anticipated influx of non-racing fans who will come to Belmont as a result of the planned sports and entertainment destination by the Islanders and their development partners.
Any NYRA renovation would be separate from the Islanders’ project, even though they are taking place on the same property. NYRA already operates the land it is looking to renovate, while the Islanders’ group won the development rights to a parcel of the property through Empire State Development, the state’s business aid agency.
As noted, the earliest anticipated opening for the new Islanders arena is 2021. Starting with the 2018-19 campaign, the Islanders are expected to split home games between Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a period of three seasons. The Barclays Center has been the team’s home since 2015, while the Coliseum hosted the club from 1972-2015 and reopened last year after undergoing an extensive renovation.
Rendering courtesy New York Islanders.
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