UNIONDALE, NY (CelebrityAccess) — NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum will be closed indefinitely as billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov seeks investors to take over management of the venue.
In a statement, Prokhorov’s venue management company Onexim Sports and Entertainment said:
“Sadly, the unforeseeable and unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating effect on the operations of the Coliseum and its finances, and delayed the planned development. Notwithstanding the complete lack of Coliseum income since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, to date, the Coliseum had continued to retain all of its full-time employees at full salary, made significant contributions to assist the Coliseum’s part-time event workers, fully reimbursed ticket-holders whose events were cancelled, made restitution to those who booked events cancelled by the COVID pandemic, and continued to maintain the Coliseum in pristine condition.
“While we still believe in the enormous long term economic value of the Coliseum and the development of the surrounding land, NEC recognizes that such value will be best realized by other parties.”
According to Bloomberg, Onexim has been in talks with inestors about assuming roughly $100 million in debt for the arena, which underwent a $180 million refurb in 2015.
Prokhorov holds a 49-year lease to operate the Coliseum and pays the county roughly $4.4 million a year for rent.
The arena, which was formerly known as the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum when it opened in 1972, has served as a home for the NHL team New York Islanders for more than 40 years.
However, the Islanders are currently building a new $1.3bn arena at nearby Belmont Park that will likely be a competitor for Nassau Coliseum when it opens, likely sometime in 2021.
Prokhorov’s decision to shutter the arena may also impact the Nassau Hub development project, a mixed use real estate development by BSE Global and RXR Realty currently in the works that was anchored by the coliseum.
“I was very disappointed to hear this, but I can’t say that I was surprised. Arenas are really taking a hard hit,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told Newsday.
“It’s some bad news piled on top of some bad news. We will handle it. We will look at all options, and remain optimistic for our future,” Curran added.
Prokhorov’s decision raises questions about the future of the $1.5 billion Nassau Hub development and is expected to send the Islanders back to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center instead of playing their final season on Long Island before their new arena at Belmont Park opens.