The news cycle on the Islanders arena situation never stops, and on Friday it took another turn.
The owners of the New York Rangers and New York Mets are said to be teaming up with the New York Islanders to build a new arena next to Belmont Park, which is in Elmont, just outside of Queens, according to Bloomberg News. The project would be a joint venture between the Islanders, Oak View Group, which Rangers owner James Dolan is an investor in, and Sterling Project Development, which is owned by the Wilpon family.
While it may sound peculiar that the owner of another NHL team would invest in a different team’s venue, there is no rule against it, Bloomberg News reported. Dolan has also been a supporter of the Islanders’ past attempts to get a new building on Long Island.
Reports last summer indicated that the Islanders were looking to build a new venue adjacent to Citi Field in Queens, but the Bloomberg report indicates the focus is now on Belmont. The New York Racing Authority controls the land next to Belmont Park in Elmont, so any new development would not have to get Town of Hempstead approval.
The land next to Belmont Park has been eyed for development for some time, and was where the NASL’s New York Cosmos wanted to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium.
The Islanders have had a rocky relationship with Barclays Center management from the start since the team moved to Brooklyn in 2015. The Islanders average attendance this season has been 13,003, but it has gone up with the team’s rise into a playoff spot..
The team’s lease with Barclays Center allows either side to terminate the 25-year lease, but not before good faith renegotiation takes place.