The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is transforming its current building into a world-class sports and entertainment facility. According to Newsday, New York Islanders’ owner Charles Wang “unveiled his plan to transform aging facility, surrounding into revitalized arena with housing, shopping and sky terraces.” The cost of this development will be about $200 million at no cost to the county. With this renovation, the New York Islanders, a team in the National Hockey League, has made a commitment to stay until 2025.
Small store owners located on Hempstead Turnpike across from the Nassau Coliseum (for the most part) seem to be happy about this change; however, they are concerned about the traffic conditions in the surrounding areas. Robert Patrella, owner of Skin Deep Tattoo Parlor is not looking forward to this renovation. Not only is he worried about traffic conditions, but he is also worried about the construction and pest problems.
“Even though this should be good for local business, it may not be,” Patrella said. “They are planning on putting their own shopping center in there anyways; it is a disappointment that this community is not what it used to be.
In the blueprints, which Patrella had seen, had shown that the waste and dumpsters for the Coliseum will now be facing Hempstead Turnpike, which gives the small stores located there a higher chance of getting pests like rats and roaches in their businesses.
The new buildings will feature a basketball court, additional ice rinks, a fitness center, new locker rooms and other sports facilities. During this renovation, the Coliseum will also expand their seating capacity by adding an extra 2,500 seats including ice-level luxury boxes. Traffic is a concern for the other business owners on the strip though. They do not think that there are enough exits off the Meadowbrook Parkway to out another attraction. With the Roosevelt Field Mall, Nassau Community College , The Source Mall, and Stewart Avenue, some are really concerned about the traffic flow once it opens. Lester Zuckerman, owner of Coliseum Gun Trade is in favor of the renovation and does not see how it could hurt his business. “Even though this may draw more people to my store I am not happy about the traffic part,” Zuckerman said. “But I guess that is all part of living in an urban sprawl that we live in; people always have to enhance areas!” Expanding the facility will open up more job opportunities for the people of the town of Uniondale and the surrounding areas. Jaime Miller, 19, is a Uniondale resident and lives walking distance from the Nassau Coliseum.
“I am really happy about this,” she said. “This is going to open a lot of job opportunities for people, and since I don’t drive, this works well for me I could walk myself to work if I were to get a job at the Coliseum.” Papa John’s manager Asma Jabeen believes that it will give them more business opportunities as well.
“We get more business for there,” she said. “Worried about traffic, but don’t think I will lose business.”
Construction is set to begin this year and to be finished by 2009, completing most of the heavy work being done during the summer from June to October when hockey season starts. The coliseum will be closed during this time. Anoop Keswani, owner of an All State Insurance on the turnpike said, “I can’t wait! This is an exciting new development and I am looking forward to getting more business from it. I have nothing but a positive attitude about this renovation!”