The incredible development of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, Prokhorov, who manages the Coliseum, thanks to a lease from the county, comes three months after the arena, as well as all the other sports and concert halls across the State have closed in the middle of the pandemic of sars coronavirus.
The decision of Prokhorov raises questions about the future development of the Nassau Hub of $ 1.5 billion and is expected to return the Islanders to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn instead of playing their last season on Long Island prior to the opening of their new arena at Belmont Park.
Ellen Pinchuk, a spokesman for Prokhorov, said on Tuesday in a press release that ” the enormous economic value in the long term at the Colosseum and its surrounding property could be best performed by other parties. She said that Onexim ” has engaged with the county of Nassau, other important stakeholders and potential investors to find the good parts in order to resume the operations of the Coliseum “. “We can’t predict or control the actions of other stakeholders,” said Pinchuk. “However, we remain convinced that the Coliseum and the proposed development represent valuable investment opportunities, engaged in the effort to find the right solution to the problems facing the Colosseum and the hope that these efforts will bear fruit. “
The leader of the county of Nassau, Laura Curran, a democrat who has made the development of the site of the Colosseum a priority since its entry into service in 2018, said she was “very disappointed” to hear of the decision to Prokhorov, but there has not been a surprise given the difficulties encountered in the arenas of the county.
She said she was encouraged that Onexim speak to their lenders and other potential investors and we are focused on development plans with RXR Realty, a strong partner and committed to this project.
“The transformation of the Hub site, a major advance of the pandemic, is now even more critical for the economic return to Nassau,” said Curran. “We have the momentum and collaboration of community stakeholders, elected leaders, businesses and trade unions to ensure our success.”
Nassau anticipates a budget deficit of $ 384 million this year and Curran stated that it “doubled” its commitment to develop the site of the Colosseum. Administration officials did not immediately respond to questions about how they planned to cope with the loss of income.
Prokhorov holds a lease of 49 years to operate the Coliseum in which the county receives at least $ 4.4 million of annual rent.
Bloomberg first reported that Onexim had told the investors that he would relinquish his lease in exchange for the new owner assuming approximately $ 100 million of loans for the renovation of $ 180 million of the arena in Uniondale, completed in 2017.
The leader of the republican majority in Nassau county, Richard Nicolello, said that it was unfortunate to see the closure of the ” historic site “.
“Realistically, this day was inevitable when the State decided to build a new arena at Belmont; the pandemic has simply reach the end sooner than expected,” said Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park). “Long Island would never have been able to support two arenas, within 25 km of one another. The majority look forward to receiving the detailed plan of the executive of the county for the Coliseum, including how it will compensate the loss of income.”
The lease was originally negotiated in 2013 by the director of republican of Nassau, Ed Mangano, and the developer of Brooklyn, Bruce Ratner, to provide a synergy of programming and operating between the Colosseum and the other arena Ratner, Barclays.
Shortly after, Ratner has left the two arenas.
In 2015, Ratner has sold to Prokhorov an 85% interest in the company that operates the Colosseum. In 2018, Prokhorov has bought out the minority share of Ratner to become the sole owner of the lease of the Coliseum.
Last year, the billionaire e-commerce Joseph Tsai has agreed to buy the Brooklyn Net and the Barclays Center to Prokhorov. The agreement did not include the lease of the Coliseum to Onexim or its participation in the plans of redevelopment for commercial and residential proposed $ 1.5-billion at the Nassau Hub.
Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR Realty and main developer of the county site of Nassau Hub, said on Tuesday that he does not think that the site would close indefinitely, but would rather a focal point of the future development of the site.
Rechler said that Onexim was transparent about its plans.
“Anyone who will put them in their place realizes that the way to maximize the value of the note is to have a dynamic development on the site of the Coliseum which makes it a destination,” said Rechler. “There is an alignment of vision for what the master plan should be. “
Rechler said that there had been “good discussions” with investors and other. He stated that he continued to devote time and money to refine a vision of the site to “post-pandemic”.
The minority leader legislative Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), whose district includes the Coliseum, said that he doubted that Onexim has the power to close its doors and end its payments of rent required by the county.
“I don’t think they have this flexibility in the agreement,” said Abrahams, who has asked for a briefing to the county and wants to know if Onexim is up to date on its rent payments. “They can use it as a ploy for negotiation, but for me, there is no negotiation because they do not have this power. “
Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, the largest group of companies in the region, said he was optimistic that the property Hub, the largest parcel of land available, of Nassau, would not be vacant permanently.
Nassau county owns the land, while RXR, one of the largest real estate groups in the region, will continue to lead the redevelopment plans, said Law.
“Now, they just need a new operator for the Colosseum and I am sure they will come up with one,” said Law. “It is certainly a wrench thrown into the long-running saga of the efforts of redevelopment. But I am always optimistic… there will still be opportunities once we come out of the pandemic COVID. “
The act continued: “there are more questions than answers now. But the fact that the owner and the developer remain the same, I remain optimistic about what can still happen something on the site. This would be good for the region. And if this includes the arena or not remains to be seen. “
Questions also remain about the residence of the Island in the short term.
The team has returned to part-time at the Coliseum in 2018. There are only three months, governor Andrew M. Cuomo has appeared at a press conference at the arena to announce that the team would play all its matches in the next season, in the final. rise to power prior to the opening of their arena Belmont.
If the Coliseum remains closed the next season, the Islanders should go back to Brooklyn. Their lease to 2018 with EGS Global – which had previously operated the Coliseum and the Barclays Center – specifies that the matches must be played in the two arenas.
The Islanders and Barclays Center declined to comment.
Officials of the hockey league are hoping that the Coliseum will reopen its doors at the beginning of the next season.
“There’s still plenty of time to ensure a viable solution “, said the deputy commissioner of the NHL, Bill Daly.
The office of Cuomo did not return immediately messages seeking comment.
With Robert Brodsky and Scott Eidler
Candice Ferrette covers the government and politics of the county of Nassau to Long Island. She is a journalist at Newsday since 2011.