Referring, of course to the New York Islanders, and their decades-long effort to replace the aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The short version: 17.5K arena plus minor league ballpark, public bonding, $350 Mill for the arena plus $50 Mill for baseball.
Those who follow hockey know all about the Nassau Coliseum, and how it is renowned for being the worst arena in the entire NHL. After several fits and starts, it seems an arena replacement plan for the Isles is finally getting underway, and the similarities between the Islanders and our Kings are more than passing. The nice folks at Lighthouse Hockey have a Q&A post up about it, and it deserves a full read.
Some of the questions that struck me as most relevant to our situation are as follows:
3. Who Will Pay for the New Islanders Arena?
Heh, getting to the tough questions so soon? The pledge is that the business operators themselves would pay the County, through a share of revenues plus sales tax generated. So attendees to these events will be indirectly footing a lot of the bill.
What Mangano proposed today is essentially what was reported by Newsday overnight: A $400 million referendum to finance construction of a new arena and minor-league ballpark (the latter of which, Mangano hopes, could be built sooner and provide revenues sooner). If the county legislature approves, the referendum would go to voters Aug 1.
Said Mangano: "Private financing is not available. We're asking the taxpayers to invest in their County."
Although at first glance this is like any other bond-for-stadiums scenario, Mangano took pains to explain this "wouldn't cost taxpayers" a cent. [This is where you put on your Hat of Suspicion, and wave your Flag of Red.] Argument being that revenue "sharing" and sales tax generated by these venues would pay off the bonds -- and no tax increase would result. We'll see.
For our purposes, this approach is probably a nonstarter (at least politically), this is at least how they are doing it back east. They are even going to try the "wouldn't cost taxpayers" angle. Ballsy. Stupid, but ballsy.
10. What are comparables?
- According to Wikipedia, the arena the Coyotes play in was completed in 2003 at a cost of $180 million, seating 17,125 for hockey.
- The Flyers' arena was completed in 1996 at a cost of $206 million, seating roughly 19,500 for hockey.
- The Penguins [fossil fuels uber alles] Center was completed in 2010 at a cost of $321 million, with costs rising from early estimates of $290 million due to increased cost of "steel and insurance." It seats 18,087 for hockey.
The most recent numbers I've been seeing for arena construction around here are anywhere from $300MM to $500MM, depending on the plan and location. I have to wonder, though, if they can get an arena built on Long Island, NY, at a cost of $350MM, and they can build an absolute palace of an arena in Pittsburgh for $321MM, it makes me wonder if those previous estimates of cost of construction are way high.