It's a strange situation. Your oldest rival and the one who lured your significant other away are both offering you a makeover to help you become more attractive in the future. While that's an overly dramatic representation, it's not that far off from what Nassau Coliseum executive Edward Mangano faced in choosing the winning bidder for the arena's renovation project.
Mangano limited a group of four bidders to two finalists, which pitted James Dolan's Madison Square Garden Company against the Forest City Ratner Company. Dolan's group owns and operates the New York Rangers, while Forest City Ratner owns and operates the Barclays Center, which will become the new home of the New York Islanders starting in 2015 after the team's lease runs out with the Coliseum.
Based upon previous reports, Mangano based his decision on the amount of revenue the developer would pay Nassau through an annual lease agreement. Ultimately, Forest City Ratner was awarded the opportunity to bring the tenantless arena into the future as the group offered $1.4 million more under the lease agreement. In addition to Nassau Coliseum, the company will also be able to redevelop the 77 acres surrounding the facility. This dynamic inspired several auxiliary concepts that can supplement income.
The group's proposal consisted of the following components, via Robert Brodsky and Randi F. Marshall of Newsday:
Forest City Ratner's $229 million proposal calls for a renovated 13,000-seat arena, a 2,000-seat indoor theater, an outdoor amphitheater, restaurants, an ice-skating rink, a movie theater and retail space. The plan also allows the New York Islanders to play six home games at the newly renovated Coliseum. The Islanders are planning to move to Ratner's Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015.
Here is Madison Square Garden's proposal, also via Newsday:
MSG's $250 million plan calls for a renovated 14,500-seat arena, an outdoor entertainment complex with restaurants, an Islanders-themed sports bar, bowling and billiards. MSG is partnering with Cordish Companies of Baltimore and RXR Realty in Uniondale.
This development seemingly strengthens the ties between Barclays Center and the Islanders franchise. Some have even speculated that this agreement might expedite the team's relocation to Brooklyn. The team is scheduled to begin playing in Barclays Center for the 2015-16 regular season.
The Madison Square Garden Company expressed disappointment regarding the decision but hopes Long Island natives are rewarded with a world-class facility.
"While we are disappointed with the County's decision, we are not at all surprised given the history of this project, and will be watching closely as this process moves to the County Legislature. We continue to believe that Madison Square Garden's proposal, expertise and proven track record represent the best and most realistic opportunity to revitalize the Nassau Coliseum. We remain deeply supportive of the efforts to create a rich and vibrant destination for all Long Island residents, and sincerely hope that, regardless of today's decision, Long Island ultimately gets the world-class destination it deserves."