Empire State Development Corporation’s decision on Belmont Park could come soon, it said — but a specific date to expect it has not yet been announced.
The decision, which was expected last summer, would bring an end to the waiting game being played by the N.Y. Cosmos, who have had a proposal for a 25,000-seat soccer stadium and mixed-use development — including a hotel, restaurants and retail space — on the table since last January.
“We are evaluating responses to the RFP and hope to announce a decision soon,” Jason Conwall, press secretary for Empire State Development, said. “We want to be thorough and comprehensive.”
The Cosmos, a famed club for whom soccer legend Pele played, was last active in a professional league nearly 30 years ago, and is set for a revival. Pending approval of the proposal for the stadium, which would cost $400 million and be privately funded, the Cosmos have gone “all-in” and tried to sell Elmont and surrounding communities on the idea that a soccer stadium would generate revenue and play a major role in their economic revitalization.
That notion has been met with significant skepticism by many residents and town officials, however. While the idea for a mixed-use development such as the one proposed by the Cosmos has been well-received by some residents, an equally large contingency has spoken out against it. Opponents of the stadium have expressed a need to consider alternative options for the Belmont space, such as housing for young professionals.
Cosmos Chief Operations Officer Erik Stover said the team is remaining patient and hopeful.
“We remain cautiously optimistic and stand ready to begin work immediately,” he said.
The Cosmos open their season in exactly one month on April 13 at the James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University in Hempstead.