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Thread: Nassau Coliseum development

  1. #1

    Default Nassau Coliseum development


    Wang unveils plan for rebuilt Coliseum, 60-story tower

    By Monte R. Young and Jamie Herzlich
    September 27, 2004

    New York Islander owner Charles Wang unveiled his vision for a $200 million "transformation" of the aging Nassau Coliseum Monday afternoon, and it includes additional seating and the construction of a athletic complex adjacent to the facility.

    "What we are doing here is great for Long Island, great for New York. It will bring business and jobs to the area and dollars to the county and state," said Michael Picker, senior vice president of operations for the Islanders and the New York Dragons arena football team.

    Calling it "The Coliseum At The Lighthouse," Picker said that Wang's "vision" for the area would also include developing the 72 acres surrounding the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He said it would include "The Great Lighthouse," which will be a 60 story building with a 10,000 square foot observatory deck for sight-seeing with a hundred miles of unobstructed view.

    Beneath the deck, will be the Grand Hotel at the Lighthouse, that will host a 5 star hotel with restaurants, ballrooms and sky terraces. The lobby of the hotel will be on the 40th floor and every room, officials said, will have an "incredible views." Beneath the grand hotel, will be luxury condominiums ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet.

    Picker said there is also a proposal to develop "The Residences At The Lighthouse, that will be a "affordable priced" mid-rise rental apartments in the heart of the Lighthouse and connected to the Athletic Complex and the Coliseum.

    Financial details of the proposed plan by Wang, were sketchy. Picker said the major overhaul of the coliseum and construction of the athletic complex will be done with help from state, county and Wang. He would not release further details. Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi would not comment on the proposed plan.

    Some members of the development community said Monday that the grandiose project still has to face many hurdles including county and town approvals.

    "It's highly unlikely the Town of Hempstead will grant something like that becasue its contrary to most of the development on the Island," said Desmond Ryan, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, a developer's lobbying group. "The approval process is like root canal without anesthesia."

    After all, EAB Plaza is only 15 stories high and the closest comparison would be the Citicorp Building in Long Island City with 50 floors. Town of Hempstead officials yesterday said it had not seen the plans and could not comment. Still, local real estate experts said it is common for developers to ask for more than they would get.

    "They usually start out with something very dramatic with high levels of expectation," said Paul Amoruso, managing director of Oxford & Simpson in Jericho, which has developed office, retail and hotel projects. "Then negotiations begin. It's part of the whole process."

    But, he added, f anyone could get something like this off the ground it would be Wang. "He's very well respected by government leaders," said Amoruso.

    Aside from the tower proposal, the business community was upbeat about a revamped coliseum, which would include eateries and a retail component with at least 12 entertainment retail stores.

    "What we see all over the country is the creation of suburban mixed use centers," said Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a research and advocacy group in Manhattan. "I think it has enormous potential."

    As for the retail component, experts said Wang should try to differentiate the stores from others in the surrounding area given the close proximity of Roosevelt Field Mall.

    Wang has continued to forge ahead on a new arena in Nassau County despite dropping out of the bidding for the New Jersey Nets late last year, when developer Bruce Ratner was given the rights to buy the team and move it to a site in downtown Brooklyn.

    County officials have viewed a coliseum project as central to the redevelopment of the central Nassau Hub, which stretches from the EAB Plaza in Uniondale on the southeast to Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City on the northwest.

    Suozzi has never unveiled any specific plans for redevelopoing the Coliseum or surrounding areas, but he's said plans would call for the construction of two industries along the lines of technology, financial services, computers or electronics. He's also said development of more entertainment and sports facilities were important.

    To support the construction and development, Suozzi has said in the past that the county plans to ease traffic flow and build a transportation system that makes it easier to get to the Hub from New York City and other Long Island communities.

    Many had remained encouraged that Wang might be able to bring a pro baskeball team to Long Island, and in doing so, boost chances for a significant redevelopment of the Coliseum. But Wang said the timing of the Nets sale clashed with the arena process.

  2. #2



    Charles Wang's proposed plans to renovate the Coliseum, rendering of the Sport Office.

    Charles Wang's proposed plans to renovate the Coliseum, rendering of the Lighthouse.

    Charles Wang's proposed plans to renovate the Coliseum, rendering of the Plaza.

    Charles Wang's proposed plans to renovate the Coliseum, rendering of the Residence.

    Charles Wang's proposed plans to renovate the Coliseum, rendering of Aerial Overview.

  3. #3
    Forum Veteran
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    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Residences = yummy cool.

    Lighthouse = incredibly freaky, especially if that beacon spins around.

    Are these conceptual things or is there an architect?

  4. #4

  5. #5


    I think the giant lighthouse kind of suits Long Island. It needs a visual landmark, whether the lighthouse is occupied or not. The observation deck alone makes it worth being built...

    Its the new trend in New York (and even Jersey). Arenas and stadiums must come with skyscrapers...

  6. #6
    Forum Veteran
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    Nov 2002
    New York City


    Holy smoke. What town is this in, again?

  7. #7
    Banned Member
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    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY



  8. #8
    Forum Veteran
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    Nov 2002
    New York City


    The Lighthouse would be the tallest building in New York State outside of the City if it were finished.

  9. #9
    Banned Member
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    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    It will never get built at that height.

  10. #10


    i really hope it does get build. this thing is cool

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2003
    The Catskills


    I think Brooklyn Rider is correct. Wang's first priority is renovation of the Coliseum and an influx of government monies. I suspect the "Lighthouse" tower is intentionally tall to get the goat of nimbys. When the tower height is lowered, or it spawns other, shorter towers, the nimbys will be proud of their success and Wang will get what he wants.

    This area needs access to mass transit (besides bus). The LIRR stations are too far away and there are no North-South lines. As Nassau County becomes increasingly denser, the suburban fabric will become more urban in texture. To me, this project looks terribly suburban and car-centric.

  12. #12


    Did you see all those parking lots?!?! NOO more traffic on LI!!

  13. #13
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    Feb 2003
    New York City


    October 14, 2004

    Computer Mogul in Tentative Nassau Development Deal


    EAST MEADOW, N.Y., Oct. 13 - A computer magnate and Nassau's top county official signed a preliminary agreement on Wednesday for what could become the biggest property development in Long Island history, a $1 billion complex dominated by a 60-story tower that would be visible from Manhattan to Montauk.

    But the agreement is far from receiving final approval, and the proposal has already prompted skepticism and outright opposition.

    The issues range from the tower's height - more than double the island's tallest structure - to objections that the developer, Charles B. Wang, has the inside track to build on 77 acres of prime county-owned land surrounding the Coliseum in Uniondale.

    At a news conference here, the Nassau County executive, Thomas R. Suozzi, signed an agreement to pursue the project with Mr. Wang, the founder of the software company Computer Associates.

    "Nassau County couldn't ask for a better partner than Charles Wang," Mr. Suozzi said. He embraced the project as his own, calling it "a proposal from Charles and myself."

    But critics say that only competitive bidding can guarantee getting the best concept, design, developer and financial deal.

    A major developers' group, the Association for a Better Long Island, charged that Mr. Wang "creates an ethical quagmire if he refuses to participate in a public bid that establishes the best return on this property." The group added, "Dictating the height and density along with the price he will pay the taxpayer for the use of their land is not going to create a scenario that will ensure prompt approvals."

    The County Legislature's presiding officer, Judith A. Jacobs, said: "I believe in a completely open process that leaves no question mark at the end. You never want to be accused of closing anybody out." She said she would insist on a thorough review and on hearings before any vote. Even so, she called Mr. Wang's proposal "exciting and innovative" and predicted that even if other proposals were made, he "would probably come out on top."

    Another legislator, Lisanne Altmann, called for a full analysis of the costs and benefits.

    Mr. Suozzi said that realistically, Mr. Wang was the only one who could carry out the entire deal. Supporters and opponents agree that he has a leg up as a co-owner of the Islanders hockey team and the Dragons arena football team, which play at the Coliseum. The proposed deal requires Mr. Wang to keep the teams there and help renovate and expand the aging Coliseum, which has been losing events and attendance. In return, he would develop the rest of the site under a 99-year lease.

    The project, first reported two weeks ago, was formally introduced here with press kits, slides and a video trumpeting it as Long Island's answer to the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China and the London Bridge.

    The centerpiece Lighthouse tower would house a luxury hotel and condominiums and be capped by a giant spotlight and an observation deck. The plan also calls for a convention and exhibition hall, medium-priced apartments, a health spa, a sports technology and training center, a plaza, ice rinks, restaurants, shops, an amphitheater and a parking garage for up to 10,000 cars.

    "The world's tallest lighthouse will put Long Island on the map in a way that's never been done before," the video narrator said, "with views that no one has ever seen before, hundred-mile views to the north, south, east and west, and downstairs 77 acres of fun, sports, culture and commerce. The Great Lighthouse will not only change the way the world looks at Long Island, it will change the way the rest of us will look at the world."

    Despite the lofty narration, neighborhood groups have objected to the tower's height, more than twice that of Long Island's current tallest building, the 19-story Nassau University Medical Center.

    Although the county owns the Coliseum site, the zoning is controlled by the Town of Hempstead, which could prove a major hurdle.

    Another issue is traffic. The Coliseum area includes Nassau Community College, Hofstra University and the island's biggest office complex, EAB Plaza. Surrounding roads are jammed during the morning and evening rush and Coliseum events. Mr. Suozzi said redevelopment would prompt solutions, like light rail service and special bus lanes.

    Some critics have questioned Mr. Wang's credentials as a developer, given the scope of the project. He made hundreds of millions of dollars before retiring as the founder of Computer Associates and since then has bought property to redevelop around his home in Oyster Bay and another site in Plainview. He said he gets his real estate expertise through "the very good people I surround myself with."

    After Mr. Wang left Computer Associates, it was hit with numerous regulatory and criminal investigations. Sanjay Kumar, the chief executive officer who succeeded him and who is still a co-owner of the Islanders and the Dragons, was recently indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and to obstruct justice. Mr. Wang said that despite Mr. Kumar's partnership in the teams, he has no role in the development project.

  14. #14
    Member clasione's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Long Island New York The "Island" that Never Sleeps!


    WoW - That is super super nice.....

  15. #15



    Does a skyscraper say 'Long Island'?


    October 31, 2004

    What will be the Parthenon of Long Island, the thing we build that will symbolize this place to ourselves and to the rest of the world for all time?

    The billionaire developer Charles Wang has proposed a sports, residential and business complex at the site of the decrepit Nassau Coliseum, the heart of which is a 60-story skyscraper dubbed "The Great Lighthouse."

    This tower, intended to be as iconic for Long Island as the Empire State Building is for New York City, takes as its inspiration the Pharos at Alexandria, the lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Promotional material makes comparisons to Paris and her tower, London and her bridge, China with its Great Wall. Long Island will have its Great Lighthouse - the world's tallest - miles away from the ocean. But why?

    To create a representation of Long Island by referencing an ancient building of which there is no real physical record other than written descriptions from individuals like Pliny the Elder, seems totally disingenuous. Besides, to erect any structure as a pre-ordained monument is pure hubris. Structures become icons with time, because they have served a real purpose and fulfilled it in a novel way.

    The implication behind the idea of an instantaneously created faux monument is that Long Island has no sense of identity. But nothing could be farther from the truth. As a 100-mile-long land mass, bigger than some countries, Long Island has an identity that has been defined both by its settlers and its topography.

    Over 300 years, fishing and agrarian communities have given way to the automobile, suburbs and sprawl. That is our identity, albeit not very sexy. The question is how to extract what is good about it and recast it in a way that is appropriate for the future.

    This is not to say that good architecture can't be self-referential, with borrowings from the past. In this case, though, the basic scheme for the complex is too many things for too many people. What it has to do with Long Island's, or better still, Nassau County's identity is not discernible.

    Stand-alone skyscrapers, like the Williamsburg Savings Bank in Brooklyn and the Citicorp Building in Long Island City, can occasionally be jewels reaching for the sky. Their forms, however, appear natural and purposeful, and they are not tethered to a conglomeration of other structures, as is the case here.

    One of the reasons the skyscraper evolved, of course, has to do with a shortage of land on which to build. As cities became dense, the only place to build was up. But that is not the case on Long Island.

    Tall buildings also come with a host of technological complexities regarding security and life-safety. But more than anything, the urban model is hard to justify in the suburban setting.

    Other tall buildings on Long Island, such as Nassau Medical Center, the D'Amato Courthouse in Central Islip, even the campanile water tower at Jones Beach, served singular purposes that dictated their size.

    The Lighthouse, with no discernible street entrance, resembles a CD-storage tower with interlocking floors wedged into a full-length metal sheath. At the apex a high beam, more Cyclops than beacon, will project light into the night sky.

    This is two buildings in one, a 20-story hotel with its lobby on the 40th floor and condominiums below. With 77 acres as a base, why not scale down the tower into several structures that could reflect a more human scale with open space. The promise of openness is, after all, the representative hallmark and symbolic identity of suburbia.

    As proposed, the complex, whose other edifices are also idiosyncratic in their borrowings from history, cannot be divorced from the tower. But the buildings are not integrated with the Lighthouse.

    The conference center has the curvaceous look of Jorn Utzon's Sydney Opera House blended with Eero Saarinen's TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport. The revamped Coliseum, with its façade seemingly wrapped by a curtain, resembles a Hollywood stage set complete with giant HD video screen projected toward the Amphitheater in an elliptical plaza reminiscent of the Capitol in Rome.

    The connections to Long Island are in the details. To bring life into an inherently sterile space, multi-story canvas sails will offer protection from the elements and remind us of the Island's character. A 50-foot-tall ice and water sculpture will recall our relationship to water. Spinning wind turbines, commendably added for energy savings, are more akin to Long Island's heritage than just about anything else in the design.

    What the project does not address are the age-old questions of architecture. It does not really examine the recasting of form, light, the making of spaces, circulation and movement and how these elements can be juggled to solve the issues of function and symbolism in unique ways. The real question is how to create an honest reality that can delight, inspire and serve to uplift the human spirit and, in turn, the local economy.

    As is, it looks as if the Lighthouse will miss the boat.

    Anne Surchin is a Sag Harbor architect. She is co-authoring a book about houses of the East End from 1880 to 1930, to be published in 2006.

    Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

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