Monday, July 12, 2010

Town of Hempstead to unveil their vision of Lighthouse Project

About 8 years ago, just 2 years after purchasing the Islanders, Charles Wang and partner Scott Rechler created a vision for development of Nassau Coliseum and the surrounding area. About 4 years ago, Nassau County on Long Island approved their vision by a 16-2 vote. After fighting with the Town of Hempstead (who now gets final say), and after several failed attempts in the previous 8 years to meet with the Town Supervisor Kate Murray, the town will finally unveil their vision of the Lighthouse Project today at a press conference.
The original plans called for an estimated $3.74 billion project that would be financed by the developers. It called for over 2,300 residential units, a sports complex with ice rinks, indoor soccer and more, a sports science center to be associated with Hofstra University and Nassau Community College, retail space, a hotel with a conference center, office buildings and many other features including a refurbished Nassau Coliseum. Wang's vision was that the Lighthouse Project could be a destination for people on Long Island and also a progressive change forward in our society that would help create over $70 million in tax revenue for the County annually and create over 19,000 permanent jobs. Wang has expressed his displeasure many times in the past how young people (ages 25-34 specifically) continue to move off of Long Island in droves because they can't afford places to live.
Today Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead will unveil a plan that gives Charles Wang and his partner about 50% of their initial vision. A major downside to her plan is that it will reduce the number of residential homes to 500 from 2,300. Chris Botta from Islanders Point Blank broke this story a couple of days ago and today it will become official.
This could be the last stand for the Islanders in Nassau County. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has already stated that “The Town of Hempstead’s new vision looks to be economically unviable to the developer and owner of the site.” To us, this sounds like Charles Wang and Scott Rechler have already decided this is not for them. The Islanders owner, who has been far from perfect in his own right, now needs to truly explore all of his options. Charles Wang has spent millions of dollars and going on 10 years of his life to see the Lighthouse Project come to fruition only to see the Town Of Hempstead stall and ultimately reject his and Nassau County's vision. The Town doesn't deserve the Islanders. Another option talked about the last few months, is the Islanders moving to Queens.
We first must wait to see how this pans out. It's possible that Charles Wang and Scott Rechler approve this vision from the Town of Hempstead. In fact, it might be exactly what the Town doesn't want. Many believe they have stalled for years in order to get Wang and Rechler out, and have someone else build and develop there. It's time the fans finally just get an answer.

For more coverage and truly informed statistics and breakdowns. Visit Let there be Lighthouse. Nick knows more about this than I think Wang and Rechler do.


  1. It seems like a shame that after so many years,and so much money being invested,someone didn't say no

    seriously,can't they just let the people vote on it,or have they?LA still doesn't have a football team,because they won't build a stadium.Some have proposed radical building plans,only to see them shot down.

    Meanwhile some cities have lost a football team,and got another one in rapid form.I would hate to see the same thing happen with the Isles.

  2. Nassau County voted yes to this 4 years ago or so. Today, residents got their say and the majority of them told Murray they want the original project because it would bring in more jobs, housing, tax revenue. Rumors are that the Republican's in power above Murray are holding this back. If you are interested Dominick, read all of the Let there be lighthouse blog. Nick who runs and writes everything knows 100 times more than I do as to why this is happening. In short, its politics. Someone with a lot of power doesn't want to see this happen even if the residents do.

  3. I went on last night because of the lack of signing info with regards to Kovi.Mangano claims that Nassau County is Paying for operating expenses with bond proceeds and off budget reserves.Can Wang and Rechler really flip the bill for this project?If they can,how will this effect property taxes?I like the Idea,I just have to read a little more.Give me a few days.

  4. sureshot,is there any way to reverse the towns zoning proposel?or is it set in stone.Is the town of Hempstead willing to finance the scaled down version?or did I miss something?

  5. Unfortunatly, the Town of Hempstead has the final say on zoning. I'm not sure why, but that is the law in this situation. The county has to approve it, which they did and then it goes to the town. The town is not willing to finance the scaled down version. Wang and Rechler have investors to pay for it. The Town just wants a new arena, problem is, the team would still lose money on an arena alone and Wang has spent millions already so it doesn't make sense for him to do that.

  6. I'm gonna love driving down Hempstead Turnpike during rush hour with 500+extra homes and other business' added over there.....yea,sure.

    They should just build an arena near Citi field.Major Hwys,train etc.I'm sure the 1000 or so Islander season ticket holders won't mind driving the extra 20 minutes..

  7. ShureShot,
    The light house link hasn't been updated for a while,and I tried a few polititions websites.Any other links you could suggest?