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Nassau Comptroller Pushes For Redevelopment Plan

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos said new Islanders arena would create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos sounded at times part watchdog and at others head cheerleader as he weighed in Thursday on the proposed deal to build a new arena and keep the New York Islanders playing hockey on Long Island.

Maragos outlined four areas that needed to be addressed in negotiations between Nassau County and Islanders owner Charles Wang to build a $350 million facility to replace the aged Nassau Coliseum.

“Our objective is that this should not cost the taxpayer anything,’’ Maragos said. “There should be sufficient revenue to pay for any borrowing the county does in order to fund the development of the site.”

The arena is just one aspect of a 77-acre multifaceted redevelopment plan. While Maragos called the renewal of the Nassau Hub vital to the economic future of the county, he outlined four steps that need to be taken before he’d sign off on a deal. According to Maragos:

  • The tenant’s credit quality in order to pay the minimum rent and any cost overruns needs to be defined.
  • The Islanders’ formal commitment to stay in Nassau County for 30 years past 2015 has yet to be renewed.
  • The county should retain the development rights to the 77 acres surrounding the Coliseum.
  • The assignment and sublease terms in the lease agreement currently appear to favor the tenant and not the county.

“The redevelopment of the Nassau County Hub and the Coliseum are critically important to Nassau County,” Maragos said. “The Coliseum currently supports hundreds of jobs and the redevelopment will create thousands of construction and permanent jobs as well as expand the sales tax base of the county.”

The massive project still needs a public vote as well as approval by the county legislature, NIFA and the comptroller for it to move forward. Maragos, for one, wants to see this project move ahead. But not to the detriment of the taxpayer. His greatest concern is the credit worthiness of the tenant.

“We would expect, for example, Wang to be the co-signature,” Maragos said. “It’s a term that we’ve asked in order for the county to feel assured that the payment commitments will be made.”

County Executive Ed Mangano recently shared a revised proposal with the comptroller that addressed some of these issues. And with 12 days remaining before the Aug. 1 referendum, Maragos said he’s optimistic a deal will be reached.

“If these terms are satisfactorily resolved to the benefit of the county,” Maragos said,  “then, yes, I would say it would be a good deal.”

dooleyman July 28, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Please read article by Karen Rubin dated 7/26/11 in the Long Island Populist Examiner You will then understand the reasoning to VOTE NO
dooleyman July 28, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Mr. Mac and Mr. Drew Art Guy have you run out of names to call those who are Voting No ? Please read the article by Karen Rubin. the country is unable to handle debt . the county has enough debt and should not go further into debt for the benefit of one person. Just study the deal and watch out for the person who will benefit at your expense
dooleyman July 28, 2011 at 01:59 PM
This should not be a political issue. This is a financial decision and should be considered as such. A no vote is the financially sound decision.
dooleyman July 28, 2011 at 02:18 PM
family / county /or country finances are all the same it is simple if you are in debt cut your spending do not go into more debt VOTE NO
Drooleyman, Your trifling polls, all CAPS comments, absence of vision, along with a questionable grasp of contemporary economics; particularly in regard to the business of 2011 sports & entertainment, have rendered/exposed you (and your opinion) worthless. By all means please keep posting. You're the best advertising the YES camp has!

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