When the New York Islanders depart the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for Brooklyn in 2015, the venue will not be left to decay.
Brooklyn Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner was informed by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano on Thursday that his business entity, Forest City Ratner Companies, beat out those who run Madison Square Garden to renovate the four- decade-old arena.
"We are grateful to be selected to revitalize Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. I would like to thank Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his team for a transparent and well-managed process. We understand and proudly accept the tremendous responsibility that accompanies this project and the impact it has on future generations of Long Islanders," Ratner said in a statement.
"We are ready to get to work to deliver a world-class Coliseum and a thriving sports, entertainment and retail center that Long Island deserves. Our partnership group is focused and prepared to bring the best to Nassau and to fulfill the County's goals of vital job growth and significant economic activity. It is time for Nassau County to have an iconic and celebrated venue that will have something for everyone to enjoy and which will redefine the customer experience."
The Islanders have called the Coliseum home since their 1972 inception, but outdated design and a move by residents in Nassau County to strike down a tax increase to fund a new arena doomed the club's stay on Long Island. Isles owner Charles Wang announced this past October that the team will land in Brooklyn and play in the Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season, complete with a 25-year lease.
Ratner provided the majority of the financing to build the Brooklyn edifice, as part of the agreement to sell a majority stake in the Nets to Mikhail Prokhorov.
Multiple reports from New York-area publications have stated that the Islanders will play selected games in their old home, and also have suggested that a minor-league hockey club will call the Coliseum home, most likely the Islanders' AHL affiliate which now resides in Bridgeport, CT.