Venue News: Task Force Proposes Nassau Coliseum Renovation Plan

A task force consisting of architects, engineers, government officials, and labor leaders unveiled a $346.5 million proposal to renovate the Nassau Coliseum and turn the surrounding 77 acres into a sports-entertainment complex. The development, for which the builder would have to secure financing, has drawn noncommittal responses from key players, including County Executive Edward Mangano, the Town of Hempstead, and Islanders owner Charles Wang, who all would have a say in the project’s future. Under the plan, a private developer would spend $100 million to renovate and expand the existing Coliseum. The height of the arena would increase by as much as 25 feet, and there would be between 17,000 and 20,000 seats — compared with just over 16,000 now. The site would include a minor league ballpark, a parking garage with room for 6,800 cars that would join the Coliseum and the Long Island Marriott, a new indoor ice rink for practice and public use, and 70,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space…

…A controversial bill aimed at protecting Quebec City’s arena project was adopted by the provincial legislature after months of debate. Bill 204 aims to pre-emptively block any potential lawsuit against the deal granting the Quebecor media empire control over an arena proposed for the city. The deal would give Quebecor control of the estimated $400-million building; in exchange, Quebecor would give the city $33 million upfront, just over $3 million more per year, 15% of the arena’s profits, and a pledge to use the building for community events. According to Quebecor, the move helps set the stage for the return of NHL hockey, after a 16-year absence from the provincial capital. However, the league has never promised any expansion to Quebec and, in its statement, Quebecor conceded any new arena would guarantee nothing…

…The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s preliminary plan for a horseshoe-shaped, on-campus football stadium calls for 27,511 seats with additional lawn seating for 2,500 fans in one of the end-zone areas. It also includes 33 luxury suites, 24 loge boxes with four seats each, parking for 300, and a downtown view from its location at the intersection of Sixth Avenue South and 12th Street. The project cost consists of $66 million for the stadium complex, $4 million for exterior improvements such as the main entry plaza, landscaping and stadium entrances, and $5 million for site preparation…

…If Ramsey County decides to put a Minnesota Vikings stadium sales tax to voters in 2012, the stadium project — at least, in Arden Hills — is dead, according to Rep. Morrie Lanning, the pointman in the House on the stadium. The Ramsey County Charter Commission will hold two public hearings in the next month and is expected to vote by mid-November on whether to put a question before voters in November 2012 about the county using a new sales tax to fund a stadium. The stadium plan calls for the county to come up with $350 million for the stadium, the state to chip in $300 million, and the Vikings $407 million or more. Under the plan, the state would authorize the county to approve the tax without voter approval — an exemption from state law — but it’s the county’s decision whether to do that or go to voters.

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