Two years after leaving Long Island for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the Islanders are officially returning giving locals much to smile about.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday as Billy Joel, Islanders owner Jon Ledecky and National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman stood in the room. “When the Islanders left, they left a hole in the heart of Long Island,” Cuomo said.
The NHL team, which played at Nassau Coliseum since its inception in 1972 until 2015, will have a new home at the Belmont Park racetrack. The news comes three months after the team made the bid in September to develop the arena.
Step Into the New Nassau Coliseum
“It is a big win for the fans because it’s much easier to get here than to get to the Barclays Center. This will be more of a full-game experience,” Cuomo said. “And it is a win for the team. They will have their own arena—18,000-seat arena—that is designed for the Islanders by the Islanders.”
The $1 billion investment will also feature a 435,000-square-foot retail hub, a 193,000-square-foot hotel and 10,000-square-feet of offices and parking space. Construction is expected to start in 2018 and finish in 2020, according to Newsday.