Islander fans have been clamouring for details about the team’s bid to develop land at Belmont Park and on Sunday they finally were let in on some of the plans.
Both New York Arena Partners, LLC — the partnership between the Islanders, Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development — and New York City Football Club unveiled details about their bids during a public listening session at Elmont Memorial High School on Sunday. The meeting — organized by local officials — lasted around two and a half hours and featured presentations from both bidders and a Q&A using preselected questions.
The Islanders’ bid included an 18,000 seat arena, hotel, entertainment district, retail and a community space. The seating capacity of the proposed venue matched an estimate that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman floated during an interview last week with WFAN’s Mike Francesa.
The bulk of the development for the Islanders’ proposal would be on the north side of Hempstead Turnpike next to the existing Long Island Rail Road station and the race track, according to a site map presented at the meeting. On the south side of Hempstead Turnpike will sit parking and the community space.
NYCFC’s bid featured similar components, including a 26,000 seat soccer-specific stadium, retail and community space. The difference in the bids — aside from the sport-specific venues and lack of hotel in the MLS club’s proposal — is the layout of the plans. NYCFC’s stadium will be on the north side of Hempstead Turnpike, but the proposed retail and entertainment district would be on the south side. Another major difference as well has been that NYCFC has been looking at several locations within the five boroughs to build a stadium, while the Islanders have made it clear that Belmont is their only choice.
There was a small group of protestors on hand who were against the idea of a sports arena. A similar group had rallied in Elmont last Sunday hoping to draw more focus onto the efforts to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Long Island.
There is no timeline for when for when a winning bid will be selected.