Nassau County announces agreement with Las Vegas Sands


Nassau County and Las Vegas Sands have reached a lease agreement for the Nassau Coliseum site.


County Executive Bruce Blakeman made the annoucement in the Ceremonial Chamber of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Chamber in Mineola today.


"This will be an economic driver for this county, Blakeman said this morning.The hospitality complex is expected to be completed in four years.


Blakeman broke down the financial boon to the county. Within 60 days of the proposed project being approved the Sands will write a check to the county for $54 million.


Should the project be approved by the state, the annual rent payment starts at $10 million with built in increases.


After the casino opens the county is guaranteed $25 million annually. After three years Las Vegas Sands must up the the payment to $50 million a year. The Town of Hempstead will also benefit financially, including $4 million dedicated to a community benefits program and $1.8 million for police upgrades.   


"This operation will be a catalyst for a revival of all our communities," Blakeman said, noting that deal is fair to both the county and Sands. He also said that contingency plans are in place should the state not approve of the original plan.


Earlier this year, the Sands officials said that they intended to develop what they called a "multi-billion-dollar flagship hospitality entertainment and casino project" at the 80-acre coliseum site. 


"We are united with a quality organization like the Las Vegas Sands," Blakeman said, adding that this could become the highest grossing casino in the nation.


Shortly after that community groups protested the proposed casino and nearby insitutions suchs such as Nassau Community College and Hofstra University differed in opinions on the project.


NCC entered into an agreement with the Sands for a training programs that could provide internships and jobs, while Hofstra filed a lawsuit against the county's Planning Commission claiming the panel violated the state's open meetings law by failing to give the public sufficient notice about a public hearing in March to consider the proposed $4 billion project.   


Calling the Nassau Coliseim "iconic" Blakeman said he does not want it to torn down. He said it is up to Las Vegas Sands to determine the fate of the building known as "the barn" when the Islanders played there.


The County Legislature also still needs to approve the agreement.


Additional reporting by Mallory Wilson.