According to a report from Newsday, a new proposal would seek to downsize Long Island’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and make it into a full-time venue for live music. The New York Islanders are set to move to UBS Arena in near Belmont Park for the 2021–22 season, which would open the famed New York venue to further renovations.
Back in June, it was announced that Nassau Coliseum would close its doors for good. Since then, Nassau Live Center made a deal with Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov to take over management of the temporarily-closed arena and Florida real estate magnate Nick Mastroianni II took over the lease. Now, a consortium of real estate developers, investment firms, and overseas moneymen negotiate the terms of the 14,500-seat venue’s future.
The proposal to downsize Nassau and turn it into a full-time music venue comes from Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky as well as the Oak View Group, a development and investment company founded by Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke in 2015. Leiweke, the company’s CEO, has also brought in the New York Arena Partners–a group of of sports executives behind the UBS Arena project which includes Islanders and Mets owners as well as Oak View–to the deal to provide “synergy” with local arena bookings.
The current leaseholder, Mastroianni–who took over the lease in August–has reportedly started taking meetings to decide what next to do with the arena which opened in 1972. Mastroianni is no stranger to Nassau Coliseum, as his company, U.S. Immigration Fund, orchestrated a $100 million loan for the arena’s $180 million renovations from 200 Chinese investors back in 2015. As the lender, Mastroianni was allowed by the county to step up as the leaseholder back in August.
“We are getting our arms around everything so we have a full understanding of the operations,” Mastroianni said while declining to discuss Oak View’s proposal, saying that it was too soon to publicly discuss any future plans for the arena.
While he may decline to comment now, Mastroianni has one month to submit a proposal to the county as to what he plans to do with the arena that will soon house no major sports team. In all likelihood, the county will reserve the right to renegotiate the financial terms of the lease initially reached with developer Bruce Ratner in 2013.
“The county gave our new tenant 60 days to come up with a plan for sustained Coliseum operations and we are glad that active discussions are taking place with Oak View Group and other potential operators,” deputy county executive for economic development Evlyn Tsimis said.
While this latest proposal of downsizing into a full-time concert theater is far from a done deal, it marks the latest exciting chapter of real estate hot potato surrounding Nassau Coliseum.
“Our concept is, what if we create one of the best and busiest music theaters in all of the country?” Leiweke said. “It is the hole in the marketplace on Long Island and we see it could become a complement to Radio City Music Hall.”
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