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Newsday (New York)
The operator of NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum was awarded a $6 million state grant on Thursday to help fund an $8.5 million project to bring the arena into NHL compliance for future Islanders games.
The Islanders said they will provide the additional $2.5 million to upgrade their former home arena as they proceed toward the opening of their new arena at Belmont Park, which is expected to occur no earlier than 2021.
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which operates the Coliseum and Brooklyn's Barclays Center, says the Coliseum work will be completed by October so the Islanders can split their schedule during the next three seasons between both arenas.
"By playing games at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders will build momentum and excitement for the transformational redevelopment of Belmont Park," according to documents presented at a meeting of Empire State Development's board of directors Thursday.
ESD, the state's primary business development agency, approved the funding and also is helping the Islanders' Belmont project.
The development — a privately funded $1 billion sports and entertainment destination awarded to the Islanders' group of investors in December — is in the beginning stages of a 12-to-16-month environmental review process.
The agreement for the Islanders to split their games between Brooklyn and their former home in Uniondale was reached in negotiations in January about the process for the team to opt out of its 25-year deal at Barclays.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced two months ago that the state will contribute $6 million to the Coliseum through ESD.
"We are excited to support Governor Cuomo in bringing hockey back to Long Island," the team said in a statement.
According to documents presented to the ESD board Thursday, the Coliseum project includes $2.2 million for installation of video-cable infrastructure and related NHL equipment and $2 million to renovate the "existing team campus," including the Coliseum locker room.
The county-owned arena reopened a year ago following an 18-month, $165-million renovation by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, during which the seating capacity for hockey games was reduced to 13,900 from more than 16,000.
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