The powers that be inside of the New York Islanders organization can breathe a sigh of relief. Not that there was much doubt, but the lawsuits filed by the Village of Floral Park and several civic groups were recently thrown out by a New York State Supreme Court judge last week regarding the legality of the new Belmont Park.
The Islanders started building the team’s new arena in Belmont last fall after it received approval from the state. Justice Roy S. Mahon rejected the village’s claim, saying it did not show “that it has suffered an injury in fact distinct from that of the general public.”
For several months, Anton Media Group has reported the village’s frustration with the project. The village and the civic groups involved in the claim can appeal the decision by mid-June.
“We are disappointed with the Judge’s conclusion and believe Empire State Development’s failure to require meaningful mitigation of the very obvious and significant negative impacts that the Belmont project poses to the surrounding communities warrants that this project needs to be re-evaluated and scaled back,” the village’s website states.
The $1.3 billion arena project is slated to be completed in October 2021, just in time for the NHL season to get underway. However, the coronavirus pandemic stalled construction at the Belmont property.
The 600,000-square-foot, 19,000-seat multi-purpose arena’s construction stalled on March 27. It is unknown if the area will still open as scheduled. But construction is reportedly about to pick up where it left off, as outdoor construction will likely be permitted to start in the coming weeks.
“We are now transforming Belmont,” Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said in February. “We’re taking 43 acres of parking lots and we’re turning them into the premiere sports and music destination on Long Island. So the Islanders are one home team and music is the other home team. On the musical side, our partner in the development of Belmont is the Oak View Group led by Tim Leiweke.”
Islanders fans were thrilled when the team announced it would return to Nassau Coliseum for a small portion of the NHL schedule last year, and the team scheduled 28 of its 41 home games at its Nassau County home for this season, prior to the pandemic.
Ledecky and Isles co-owner Scott Malkin are determined to make this project one that can help Long Islanders not only see professional hockey on their home turf, but to create an economic powerhouse right in their backyard.
“We want to spend our money with Long Island based firms because that’s how you grow an economy,” Ledecky said. “We’re going to have the first third-generation arena in American history. This arena will be unbelievable from a technology standpoint. Of course, the entire arena will be 5G and adjacent to it will have a 250-room hotel and across the street and highway, there will be a retail village.”
When the construction starts back up, fans can visit www.nhl.com/islanders/arena/belmont to see the construction’s progress on the new arena.