Nassau Breaks Ground On Coliseum Renovations

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano takes a sledgehammer to a wall of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to mark an official ground-breaking of renovations to the center. (Photo courtesy of Nassau County)

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano takes a sledgehammer to a wall of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to mark an official ground-breaking of renovations to the center. (Photo courtesy of Nassau County)

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, developer Bruce Ratner and Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center, officially broke ground on a the long-awaited renovation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Hempstead last Thursday.

When complete, the Coliseum will host hundreds of events annually, including six New York Islanders games, a Brooklyn Nets preseason game, boxing, minor-league sports and college basketball, as well as star-studded concerts and family-fun entertainment.

In the months after construction of the Coliseum begins, work will begin on the plaza surrounding the arena to build a movie theater, family sports and entertainment facilities, and restaurants.

The renovation of the 43-year-old Nassau Coliseum and construction of its surrounding retail and entertainment center is expected to create more than 1,035 direct construction jobs, and more than 570 additional indirect and induced jobs in Nassau, according to the county. Construction will also generate more than $330 million in economic activity for the county. The Coliseum is scheduled to reopen in winter of 2016.

Both the Coliseum and the retail center are funded by $260 million in private investment from Ratner’s Nassau Events Center. No tax dollars are being used to construct the Coliseum and its surrounding retail and entertainment center.

Under terms of the agreement, $194.5 million is the minimum guaranteed revenue the County will receive during the 34-year lease term with NEC.

“This is only the beginning as the property will be further developed to create healthcare-related jobs, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and other exciting initiatives,” Mangano said.

“Long Islanders have waited far too long for a premier entertainment destination that they can be proud of,” Ratner said. “Today marks an important milestone and step forward in delivering a state of the art entertainment venue and retail destination that will truly have an incredible impact on the region.”

Added Yormark, who will oversee the new venue: “From sports, to music, to family entertainment, to outdoor festivals and other special events, our soon-to-be-announced programming schedule will complement the local audience and bring the best to Long Island.”

A day after the ground-breaking, the Nets announced the formation of a D-League franchise called the Long Island Nets that will be based at the Coliseum. The new team will play at Barclays Center next season before relocating permanently to the Coliseum for the 2017-18 season.