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Judge Denies Request to Stop Islanders Arena Construction

New Islanders Arena

On Thursday, a judge denied a request from a neighboring village to stop certain construction work on a New York Islanders arena at Belmont Park.

In September, the Village of Floral Park filed a lawsuit against developer New York Area Partners, Empire State Development, and the New York State Franchise Oversight Board. The village alleges that the bidding process for development rights to the land was flawed, and that an environmental impact statement failed to fully analyze the implications of a full-time Long Island Rail Road Station that will be built to support the project.

The lawsuit continues, but Floral Park asked for a temporary restraining order last Friday on certain activities relating to construction, including use of Belmont’s north parking lot, sheet pile driving, and the flow of trucks down Plainfield Avenue in the village. State supreme court Judge Roy Mahon denied the request Thursday, believing that the village lacked evidence to prove that the ongoing work was causing “irreparable harm.” Project officials were hoping for that outcome, as they argued that even a short-term disruption would delay the arena’s opening. More from Newsday:

Floral Park attorneys asked Judge Roy Mahon for the temporary restraining order last Friday, saying village residents were “suffering real and significant adverse impacts” from the work on the 43-acre arena, hotel and retail complex.

Mahon declined Floral Park’s request after a hearing Thursday in Mineola. Mahon said the village did not present enough evidence that those activities will cause “irreparable harm” as its lawsuit continues.

“A temporary restraining order is a drastic remedy,” Mahon said. “As such, the petitioner must make a showing of the irreparable harm that would occur in the absence of such an order. In this regard, to this court, the petitioner has not made such a showing.”…

Richard Browne, managing partner of Sterling Project Development, which is overseeing construction, said in court papers that stopping construction for “even a short period” meant “it is a virtual certainty” the Islanders arena would not be ready for the start of the team’s 2021-22 season.

Under a plan that has been in the works for a few years, an estimated $1.26-billion development on state land at Belmont Park will be anchored by the new arena. The project is led by New York Arena Partners, which includes Islanders ownership, Sterling Project Development (controlled by New York Mets owners), and arena developer Oak View Group. The project’s current scope calls for a 19,000-capacity arena to be the centerpiece of surrounding development that includes a 250-room hotel, 350,000 square feet of retail space, and more.

Despite the legal challenges, project officials moved forward with a groundbreaking ceremony in September. The Islanders are aiming to complete the arena in time for the 2021-22 NHL season.

Rendering courtesy New York Arena Partners LLC.

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