Islanders bid to be selected for Belmont Park arena

Beth Cruz
December 21, 2017

The Islanders are in desperate need of a new home and the news of a possible winning bid can not come soon enough.

The New York Islanders bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park will be selected by the state of New York, Newsday's Jim Baumbach reports.

The Islanders and their partners-Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development-responded to a request for proposal (RFP) in September by turning in a bid for a new arena. The Islanders have reportedly been informed that their plan will be announced as the winning bid during a Wednesday press conference that will include NY governor Andrew Cuomo.

Jon Ledecky, along with his partner, Scott Malkin, did nearly the impossible, deliver Nassau County and more importantly, the Islanders fans, a new arena that will finally put an end to all of the off the ice talk that has plagued this team for years. Team officials outlined their development plans at a public meeting earlier this month.

The plan includes an 18,000 seat, year-round arena with 435,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel, and what's being called an innovation center, which will be developed with community input.

Cuomo says the billion dollar investment to the area will create 3,000 permanent jobs. "There's only one Brooklyn team for Barclays Center and that's the Brooklyn Nets", Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement. The team is partnering with Sterling Project Development - run by the Wilpon family, which owns the New York Mets - and Oak View Group, which is also spearheading the redevelopment of KeyArena in Seattle for potential National Hockey League expansion.

Belmont Park is a world-famous horseracing track and now looks like it will expand. Capacity for hockey in Brooklyn is 15,795, the second-smallest in the NHL.

The Islanders can opt out of their deal with the Barclays Center in January.

Now that their arena situation is set to be resolved, the elephant in the room for the Islanders is the looming 2018 free agency of captain and star center John Tavares.

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