Billion-dollar plans for a new Islanders arena, retail and entertainment complex at Belmont Park, has gotten Nassau County Executive Laura Curran thinking. She recently announced that there should be redevelopment plans for the Nassau Hub, the 77-acre area around NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
According to Curran, she’d like legislators to consider the “new possibilities” which include a biotech park; housing; pedestrian walkways; and a rapid bus transit system connecting the site to the Mineola and Hempstead Long Island Rail Road stations. Referencing the Belmont plans, Curran said that, “plans for the largest undeveloped piece of county land need to be rethought.”
Last week a public hearing was called by the country legislature to discuss the development of the Hub as well as the legal status of the property.
Other county leaders have also sought to redevelop the parcel. For example, Charles Wang’s Lighthouse Project proposes 2,300 housing units, office and retail space. Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s plan includes a 25-acre science and technology park to be built atop an underground parking garage.
Curran’s plans seem to be more ambitious. She is looking to build on the entire 77 acres. This could run counter to a plan by Syosset-based developer, Blumenfeld Development Group, which is proposing primarily entertainment and retail on 11 acres of the site.
According the principal of the firm, Edward Blumenfeld, “While reasonable people can debate the term “transformational,” the question for this administration is whether another RFP will bring a higher, better or “transformational” use for this parcel or will it bring another considerable delay that adds one more chapter to the history of repeated land use study and missed opportunities.”
Blumenfeld Development Group won a settlement in February against former development partner Forest City Enterprises for the right to propose an idea to redevelop the Hub. Forest City Enterprises worked on the Coliseum renovation completed last year.
On May 21st Blumenfeld’s lease for two sections of the Hub property known as the Coliseum plaza will expire. That’s one reason why Curranwants to “take a fresh look” at a plan to develop the entire 77-acre property. Her office says that it prefers a plan that is “not piecemeal”.
One thing we do know is from the Town of Hempstead. Zoning for the Hub property allows for nonresidential building height restrictions of 40 feet for residential; 60 feet for nonresidential or mixed use; 100 feet for a hotel. A maximum of 500 residential units, with 20 percent defined as “affordable” or “workforce” housing. At least 3 percent of the land area must be public parkland.
In the meantime, a 140,000-square-foot Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center building broke ground in October 2017 and there was a renovation of the Coliseum, which reopened in March 2017.
It’s off to the redevelopment races!