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County explores pieces for a whole Hub plan

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Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 12:57 pm

In the absence of any private developers proposing a comprehensive plan for the Hub property, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is soliciting proposals for components of an overall plan.

The county executive’s office recently issued requests for proposals for an expo center that would be somewhat smaller than a sports arena like the existing Nassau Coliseum, according to Mangano.

“We believe that will occur,” Mangano said in an interview with Blank Slate Media this week.

He said proposals for the expo center that approximate the floor space of three football fields are due on Feb. 28. In addition to providing exposition space, he raised the possibility of an arena football team playing in the expo center.

Mangano’s primary objective for the Hub development remains retaining developer Charles Wang and his New York Islanders NHL hockey team to anchor the new coliseum needed to keep them there.

“We continue to work with the Islanders to achieve that purpose,” Mangano said. “No one has come forward with a privately financed deal.”

Wang has said he would move the New York Islanders hockey team at the end of the team’s lease in 2015 unless a new arena is built. He has estimated that construction of a new arena would take 30 months.

Speculation has centered on Wang moving the Islanders to Canada or to the new Barclays Center, which will house the New Jersey Nets NBA team next season. 

“We continue to talk to anyone,” Mangano said.

At a press briefing last month, Mangano said he was on the verge of revealing a new plan to develop the 77-acre Hub site, which he has called the centerpiece of his plan to spur economic development in the county.

He shifted gears to seek a private company or companies to develop the site after a referendum to fuel development of the Hub with public funds was soundly defeated in August.

“The coliseum plan has been the victim of ‘No’,” he said this week, referring to both the referendum and the much earlier rejection of the original Hub development plan by the Town of Hempstead under Mangano’s predecessor Thomas Suozzi.

Mangano’s office has fielded informal proposals for various commercial projects on the Hub property since he issued the invitation to all comers in August, according to Mangano spokesman Brian Nevins.

But responses to the RFP for the expo center would be the first formal proposals of any kind received for the Hub property since voters rejected the notion of using public money to keep the Islanders on ice in Nassau County.   

Welcome to the discussion.