Kidd, Calipari help trumpet revived NY arena
A news conference to trumpet the selection of a developer to
renovate a suburban New York sports arena morphed into a pep rally
Friday, as sports luminaries including Jason Kidd and John Calipari
joined elected officials and business leaders at the Nassau
Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Kidd, the Brooklyn Nets coach, University of Kentucky basketball
coach Calipari were trotted out alongside New York Islanders star
Matt Martin and boxing champion Bernard Hopkins as representatives
of some of the sporting events that could be staged at a renovated
”You’ve got some excitement in your future,” Calipari said,
predicting the facility could someday host contests between
regional and national basketball powerhouses. ”You’re going to
have teams from around the country flocking to this building.”
On Thursday, officials in this New York City suburb announced
that a business group responsible for the construction of the
recently opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn would oversee a $229
million renovation of the 41-year-old Long Island arena. The plan
still needs the approval of the county legislature, but observers
say the GOP majority in the legislature would likely go along with
Republican County Executive Edward Mangano’s recommendation.
Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner
Companies, which built the Barclays Center, said he expects
renovations to begin in 2015 and be completed after about 18
months. In addition to the sports arena, Ratner envisions a bowling
alley, movie theaters, restaurants and other amenities will be
built on the 77-acre property, one of the largest parcels of open
space remaining in the densely crowded suburb.
Discussions on renovating the coliseum, which opened in 1972,
have been going on for a decade or longer.
After voters rejected a 2011 referendum to borrow $400 million
to renovate the coliseum, the Islanders announced they would move
to the new arena in Brooklyn following the 2015 season. Under the
agreement announced Thursday, the Islanders will return to Nassau
County to play six games a season in the renovated building.
Ratner also announced the Brooklyn Nets, who called the Nassau
Coliseum home when they played in the American Basketball
Association in the 1970s, would hold an open practice and play one
exhibition game a year in the Long Island facility.
”This is a tremendous responsibility and we are grateful for
the county’s confidence and trust,” said Brett Yormark, Barclays