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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Coliseum for the taxpayers
(Page 2 of 2)
Now, four developers have different ideas on how to move forward. According to published reports, each of the bidders said they would finance the work without using public funds, meaning that Nassau taxpayers would not have to spend a penny on the redevelopment project.

That’s a no-brainer, and a win-win for the county.

Forest City Ratner, the team that designed the business model for the Barclays Center, proposed a smaller, 13,000-seat arena that could be downsized to 4,000 seats for smaller events. The plan includes as many as six restaurants and 50,000 feet of retail space. The proposal would cost approximately $229 million, and generate an estimated $10.9 billion in economic activity over 30 years.

The Madison Square Garden Company proposes to keep the Coliseum’s current size, but design it so that it could also host more intimate events. The company projects that the new arena would generate $11 billion in economic activity over 30 years and over $300 million in tax revenue for the county.

Syosset real estate developer Edward Blumenfeld and the Blumenfeld Development Group had the only proposal that would involve demolishing the Coliseum and building something completely new, with a $180 million price tag. The plan would generate approximately $10 million to $20 million in annual sales tax revenue for the county.

Lastly, New York Sports LLC, based in Bayville, proposed a family-friendly entertainment complex geared toward Long Island’s athletes. It would also downsize the arena, and spend $60 million to $90 million to refurbish its interior. This proposal would generate between $10 million and $20 million in annual tax revenue.

The redevelopment of the Coliseum could be the beginning of a renaissance in Nassau County. Our county executive understands the importance of new development at the site in order to continue generating revenue and create jobs.

In the coming months, taxpayers will learn more about the proposals. We need something sexy to keep people on Long Island. We need a contemporary and practical plan that grows the economy while, most importantly, not using taxpayer money. The time for redeveloping the Coliseum is now.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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