It's Dolans Versus Steinbrenners in Quest to Build NY Arena

Updated on
  • Belmont Park is one of few New York sites available for arena
  • Hockey’s Islanders, soccer’s NYCFC are said to submit plans

New York Islanders goalie Kristers Gudlevskis tracks a puck controlled by Philadelphia Flyers center Jori Lehtera during a game in Uniondale, NY, on Sept. 17, 2017.

Photographer: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Islanders and New York City Football Club each want to build a new arena at the site of Belmont racetrack, pitting two of New York’s richest team owners against each other to build what might be the city’s last all-new venue for decades.

Part-owned by the Yankees, NYCFC is looking for an alternative to its current home at Yankee Stadium. In its proposal to develop Belmont Park, which is due at 2 p.m. Thursday, the Major League Soccer club describes a 26,000-seat facility and an area set aside for fans’ pregame activities, according to a person who had seen the plans. The person asked not to be named because the information is private.

For their part, the Islanders are seeking an alternative to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where executives may terminate the team’s lease as early as January. Having a new home at Belmont could allow the team to leave Brooklyn as soon as the 2018 season. Joining the Islanders in the proposal is Oak View Group, whose investors include James Dolan’s Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the Knicks, Rangers and their namesake arena.

The Islanders said they submitted a proposal “to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination at Belmont Park.” NYCFC said it would submit a proposal in a partnership with the Related Cos., a real estate firm founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

The Belmont site in Elmont, New York, is controlled by the New York Racing Authority and sits about 19 miles east of Manhattan, just outside of Queens. It is accessible by car and by regional rail, and an arena there would bring the Islanders closer to its traditional Nassau County fan base.

State officials in July asked for proposals to develop the site, saying their aim was to in part transform the site into a entertainment, sports, hospitality and retail complex. Amy Varghese, a spokeswoman for Empire State Development, declined to comment in keeping with the agency’s policy of not discussing active proposals.

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