Privately-Financed $1.3 Billion UBS Arena Will Serve as Permanent Home for the New York Islanders
With This Major Construction Milestone, Project is On Schedule for Opening Ahead of 2021-22 National Hockey League Season -- Despite Disruption from COVID-19 Pandemic
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the "topping off" of the UBS Arena, the new home of the New York Islanders at Belmont Park. Empire State Development Board Chair Steven M. Cohen and Acting Commissioner Eric Gertler joined National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky to place the highest steel beam atop the new arena, marking a major construction milestone for the project, which remains on schedule for opening ahead of the 2021-2022 National Hockey League season despite disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Islanders are Long Island's team and they deserve a permanent home here among their fans. Today, we are taking another major step toward making that a reality, while building a brighter future for all New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "In New York, we have repeatedly shown that we can deliver big projects despite the odds -- and in the face of delays related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Belmont team stepped up to keep this transformational project on schedule. This arena will boost our economy and is evidence -- in steel and concrete -- that New York will build back better from this crisis."
"Today marks another significant step on the journey to the Islanders' home opener of the 2021-22 season," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "No one - particularly the loyal fans of the Islanders - can wait until the team skates onto the ice of the spectacular UBS Arena. In the meantime, we marvel at the vision of Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky, the Oak View Group and Governor Cuomo, and the way they've worked together to turn that vision into reality - even remaining on schedule during these turbulent times."
"UBS Arena is proud to serve as a beacon of hope for the community and New York's economy," said Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky. "Today's milestone would not be possible without the vision, extraordinary support and unwavering commitment of Governor Cuomo.''
The UBS Arena at Belmont Park will be the home of the New York Islanders starting with the 2021-2022 season and is the centerpiece of the $1.3 billion Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, which also includes a hotel, office space, and world-class retail village. In conjunction with the project, the MTA will construct a new LIRR station at Elmont -- the first new, full-time LIRR station built in decades. The majority of the station's cost will be privately funded by the arena developer. Construction on the arena was delayed for two months when COVID-19 peaked in New York and non-essential businesses were closed, but is now back on schedule.
ESD Chairman of the Board Steven M. Cohen said, "The Belmont project will drive economic growth on Long Island and provide a world-class facility for the New York Islanders to call home, and this important milestone is a testament to the extraordinary progress underway. Under the Governor's leadership, New York State is advancing historic projects all across the state that will create jobs, move our economy forward, and make a difference in people's lives."
ESD Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-delegate Eric Gertler said, "ESD is proud and excited about the tremendous progress being made at Belmont Park, as the UBS Arena moves one step closer to completion. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's vision and leadership, the Islanders' new home is quickly becoming a reality -- making longtime hockey fans happy and providing an economic boost through added jobs and tax revenues that will benefit Long Island's economy."
"We are proud to align ourselves with New York's newest premier sports and entertainment venue," said Michael Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell. "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, UBS Arena is poised to be one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the country. New York, and especially Long Island, is home to thousands of our patients as well as our employees. With 25,000 employees living near UBS Arena alone, this partnership allows us to reinforce our commitment to serving the community and we look forward to developing future health and wellness programming with UBS Arena and the New York Islanders."
First announced in December 2017, the Belmont Redevelopment Project is transforming 43 acres of underutilized parking lots at Belmont Park into a premier sports and hospitality destination. Construction of the arena, retail village and hotel are projected to create 10,000 jobs and generate $2.7 billion in economic activity. Once complete, the project is expected to sustain 3,200 full-time jobs and produce $858 million in annual economic activity while generating tens of millions of dollars in new annual tax revenue.
The Belmont Redevelopment complements the billions of dollars invested on Long Island since Governor Cuomo took office - supporting the region's world-class academic and research institutions, revitalizing downtowns, bolstering the agriculture, manufacturing and life sciences sectors, improving infrastructure and investing in the region's tourism industry.
Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera said, "Today is a major step forward in transforming Belmont Park into a world-class hospitality and sports facility. This announcement is made possible by the tireless work of the union building trades members who, despite a global pandemic, show up every day to get the job done. I commend Governor Cuomo for his vision and leadership on this project. New York will come back stronger than ever because Governor Cuomo understands that large-scale infrastructure projects drive job creation and economic growth for decades to come."
NSBCTC President Matty Aracich said, "Topping off the Belmont Park New Islanders Arena marks a critical milestone for this major project and represents Governor Cuomo's commitment to build back better than before. COVID-19 has caused unprecedented challenges, however nothing can stop the hardworking Tradesmen and Tradeswomen in the building and construction trades who intend to deliver this critical piece of infrastructure on schedule. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's extraordinary leadership, Belmont's state-of-the-art facility will provide New Yorkers with good paying jobs, strengthen the local economy and serve as a shining symbol of the region's regrowth. The Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties is extremely proud of partnering with the Development Team at Belmont Park Arena."
Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "Belmont Park has the potential to be a major game-changer for our community and I'm proud to see this exciting progress in its development. I'm looking forward to both bringing the Islanders home and for the arena to be an economic engine for Nassau County."
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, "as New York continues to recover from the COVID pandemic, the rise of the Islanders' new home at Belmont is a reminder of the big things New Yorkers can accomplish when we come together toward a common purpose, even during challenging times. I'm so proud to have the Islanders coming home to my district, and I'm grateful for Governor Cuomo and all the workers whose vision and efforts are making it happen."
Senator Leroy Comrie said, "The hockey experience on Long Island is about to get elevated to a whole new level with the state-of-the-art UBS Arena. This new attraction at Belmont Park will bring energy and excitement to the Islanders' original fan base."
Assemblymember Clyde Vanel said, "This new arena will be home to the next generation of hockey greats, serving to attract new and old fans alike, and generating new investments and economic opportunities throughout the region. Today's milestone is an important step in bringing the Islanders home, and I'm excited to see this project's progress. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to Long Island, and Empire State Development for helping this project become a reality."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "Today we're topping out a new home for our New York Islanders, marking another milestone for Nassau. This project is bringing Nassau a world-class arena that will generate thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity, and the first full-time Long Island Rail Road station in almost 50 years. Say goodbye to the Land of No - we're growing again, we're building again, and the Isles are coming home for good. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and execution of this project, as well as the entire Islanders organization."