Written by Michael Scro, email@example.com Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Syosset’s Blumenfeld Development Group (BDG), headed by Ed Blumenfeld, has proposed a $200 million design to demolish Nassau Coliseum and build a new arena and state-of-the-art exhibition center for the 21st century.
“The existing facility cannot be effectively retrofitted,” said Brad Blumenfeld, BDG Vice President, adding “Our team is committed to building a new, preeminent facility—other proposals only call for renovations to the existing arena.”
Ed Blumenfeld notes, “We know what we’re doing—we think of Nassau and its residents as premiere, first class and not business class,” indicating that this sets their proposal apart from others. He adds, “The glaring difference with our proposal is this would be our highest priority, as opposed to taking the overflow from Madison Square Garden and the Barclay’s Center back into Nassau County.”
The proposal would allow for a minor league hockey team, big-10 college basketball, hockey games, a parking structure with 2,500 spaces, field parking, and preferred and priority parking.
BDG has joined with SMG Worldwide Entertainment and Convention Venue Management and the University of Michigan’s Mark Rosentraub in developing and submitting their proposal.
A panel of business leaders will advise Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano in selecting the winning bidder.
Competition for the winning bid is Madison Square Garden Company’s $250 million proposal for a 14,500 seat arena; Brooklyn Barclay’s Center Bruce Ratner’s, $229 million proposal for a 13,00 seat arena, and Bayville based Bernard Shereck’s $60 to $90 million proposal with up to 10,000 seats.
According to the BDG site plan, construction of the new arena will take an estimated three years, and allow continued activity in the existing arena during its construction. Upon completion, the former arena will be demolished.
BDG’s proposal is privately financed and according to their conceptual plan: “maximizes the sites potential and increases tax revenues.” If selected, BDG estimates an economic impact of up to $20 million in annual sales tax revenue, without new taxpayer funding.
“We acknowledge that a stand-alone arena is not economically viable,” Ed Blumenfeld said. “Our plan is to create a new iconic facility that will stand alone as the symbol of Nassau County.” It will include a central destination with a multi-faceted shopping, recreation, office and residential experience, [which] will activate a vibrant 24- hour community.” A town center with an array of retail, restaurants and entertainment options would also be constructed.
The new arena would house an estimated 10,000 seats, configured to accommodate future expansion, and the design would be a new muti-use/multi-purpose facility. The proposed exhibition center would be above ground, compared to the current below ground site, and will be an estimated 100,000 square feet.
“This Arena would be a world class facility of a caliber that will accommodate any professional sports franchise and satisfy the needs of today’s entertainment acts,” Ed Blumenfeld said.
Part of the plan is to also capitalize on local sites, such as Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, Museum Row and Mitchel Field, complying with Mitchel Field zoning to facilitate the approval process, and if approved, including a bridge or crosswalk to link Hofstra’s campus to the arena parking lot.
“We want to mix the life of students in with the life of this venue,” Ed Blumenfeld noted.
Raffaela Petrasek, BDG Development Associate agreed, recognizing that there is “no downtown gathering place” at Hofstra currently.
Ed Blumenfeld has commented that Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz “is in favor of our proposal.”
BDG has worked on numerous properties across Long Island, including Life Time Athletic in Syosset, The Arches in Deer Park, LA Fitness and BJ’s in Farmingdale and Commack Retail Center.
Mark Rosentraub, a professor of Sports Management at the University of Michigan, School of Kinesiology, with over 30 years of experience, is a national expert on measuring the economic benefit from public facilities and related real estate for local and regional economies and local government revenues. His past projects include sports entertainment districts for the San Diego Padres, Greenbay Packers, NY Mets, Detroit Pistons and Indianapolis Colts.
Ed Blumenfeld regards Rosentraub as a “premiere municipal advisor,” and said: “Nassau County has never hired anyone with expertise in this kind of venue development, so we did.”
SMG, founded in 1977, has an estimated $547 million in assets and manages 233 facilities worldwide, including 71 arenas, 70 convention centers, 60 theaters, nine stadiums and 23 specific-use venues.