The New York Islanders’ Belmont arena timeline remains unchanged amid rumors of a potential long-term delay.As everyone close to the New York Islanders‘ Belmont arena project has continued to reiterate, everything is still perfectly on track.
Final environmental impact statement at Belmont due "hopefully" by end of second quarter, ESD official said at board of director meeting this morning. Isles had hoped to break ground in May or June, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said recently. So we'll see………..
— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) February 21, 2019
New York Arena Partners (NYAP) (comprised of the Oak View Group, Sterling Equities, and Scott Malkin Group) announced that they extended the period for public comment through March 1, but it was a contract-extension which caused rumblings of a delay to the project to begin circulating.
Mark Berner of Horserace Insider provided a healthy report on the situation with extensive knowledge on what these moves actually mean:
“Normal growth of a $1+ billion project such as changes to the site plan is what necessitated the extension. There are no deficiencies in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) nor major hurdles to clear.”
The NYAP extended the AKRF (Allen King Rosen and Fleming) firm for one more year through September 2020. The original contract lasted from September 2017 to September of 2019.
AKRF is the environmental consulting firm and was tasked with the following amendments leading to an extension:
- Changes to the site plan and project area, including parking locations.
- Additional traffic analysis to account for later game start time, removal of night racing from the no-build, and additional analysis locations and shared parking demands.
- Natural resource assessment.
- Preparation of fiscal impact analysis.
- Additional construction analysis and additional alternative scenarios.
It’s worth noting the AKRF’s previous experience includes similar reviews for the renovated Yankee Stadium, CitiField, and Barclays Center.
Many already attribute these factors towards signs of a long-term delay, but the NYAP remain committed to an October 2021 puck drop.
While a slim chance remains for shovels to hit ground this May, a more realistic timeline would be to break ground in either June or July, according to Berner.
Even the feared transportation extension to and from the arena is nearly settled. Nassau County Village Officials passed a non-binding amendment stating that developers construct a full-time LIRR station for service to Belmont.
MTA officials estimate that full-time east-west service to Belmont would cost NYAP $300 million.
With speculation running amok, Isles fans can breathe easy — there is no official word that the timeline has been delayed in any way.