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Islanders Reportedly Win Bid To Build Arena At Belmont Park Site

Islanders Reportedly Win Bid To Build Arena At Belmont Park Site
A satellite image of Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont, New York

The New York Islanders have reportedly won out over NYCFC in the contest to build an arena next to New York's most famous horse racing venue.

The Islanders have been selected to build an 18,000-seat arena with 435K SF of potential retail and hotel development, as well as a 10K SF "innovation center" on land surrounding the racetrack at Belmont Park, SNY reports. Empire State Development Corp. had issued an RFP this summer to develop the state-owned land and create a more vibrant area to surround the track.

NYCFC, which shares Yankee Stadium with the Yankees like the Islanders do at Barclays Center with the Brooklyn Nets, had proposed a 26,000-seat stadium with 400K SF of retail, a community park and a two-acre soccer facility. Though NYCFC had preferred a site within city limits and Belmont Park sits just outside in Elmont, it was still the most readily available land for a dedicated stadium.

Instead, the Islanders will return to Nassau County where they built their fanbase over decades before a move to Brooklyn that proved catastrophic. It has enlisted Sterling Project Development, the real estate company owned by the Wilpon family (which owns the Mets), and Oak View Group, an arena specialist partially owned by Madison Square Garden, as developers of the project.

The arena site, as currently proposed, will sit between the racetrack and Hempstead Highway, adjacent to the Belmont Park Long Island Rail Road station, which was upgraded two years ago but could require further work to accommodate a year-round arena. The Islanders plan to host 150 events per year beyond hockey games.