• September 16, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

State EDC approves Isles’ Belmont site

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Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:30 am

The state last week advanced the puck for the New York Islanders in the team’s effort to have a new arena in Belmont Park for their 2021-22 season.

The Empire State Development Corp. formally approved plans for New York Arena Partners to construct a professional hockey and concert venue on the racetrack grounds, along with a hotel and, across the street, a shopping village.

Gov. Cuomo is backing the project, which would bring the Islanders back to Nassau County from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

As the new development would sit just on the other side of the Cross Island Parkway — and will hold up to 19,000 people for its largest events — residents, civic groups and elected officials representing the Eastern Queens communities of Queens Village, Cambria Heights and others have been pressing the state and developers over the potential for massive traffic delays on the Cross Island, and the spillovers those might cause in residential areas of Queens.

A major concern on the western side of the CIP is that drivers on their way to a concert or hockey game might be directed through residential neighborhoods of Eastern Queens by automatic GPS systems designed to steer drivers around slow or stopped traffic.

To date borough leaders have secured an expanded traffic study that will examine more Queens streets than initially intended.

Last month Cuomo and the Long Island Rail Road committed to building a new full-service station in Elmont north of the racetrack to alleviate some potential traffic. An extensive environmental study also is underway.

New York Arena Partners is a consortium that includes the ownership of the Islanders and Sterling Equities. The latter is run by the Wilpon family, which owns the New York Mets.

The Islanders now split time between Barclays and the refurbished Nassau Coliseum, though the coliseum no longer meets the seating capacity and some other requirements of the National Hockey League.

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