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County Committees Approve Rent Relief For Nassau Coliseum

Nassau Coliseum
Kathy Kmonicek
Nassau Coliseum

Long Island lawmakers have approved changes to the Nassau Coliseum’s lease agreement including $4 million in rent relief.

The Nassau County Rules and Finance committees approved to amend the lease agreement between the county and Nassau Live Center, LLC (NLC). Nassau Live bought the lease last August after the previous leaseholder defaulted on $2.2 million debt in June.

NLC isn’t obligated to pay rent until six months after the state’s COVID-19 moratorium on rent payments are lifted.

NLC must still follow all lease agreements besides rent payment, including paying utilities, repairs and other contractual obligations. The operators are also continuing on a proposal to transform the surrounding parking lots into a “new vibrant, walkable mixed-use downtown.”

“Plans to redevelop acreage around the coliseum are the heart of the county executive's economic plan,” Evlyn Tsimis, the deputy county executive for economic development, said during the committee hearing.

The amendments also replace the previous operator with NLC to partner with RXR Developers in that project.

The previous operator was Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire and former owner of the Brooklyn Nets. Before his company defaulted on the lease, Nassau County lawmakers threatened to terminate the lease if over $2 million in overdue rent and utilities debt weren’t paid. That debt was transferred on to NLC.

The coliseum has been closed for the majority of the pandemic. It has only hosted two New York Islanders home games this season with two others being postponed due to COVID-19. They’ll host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday with no fans in attendance.

The coliseum is also home to the Long Island Nets, which will be playing all its games in the NBA minor team “bubble” down in Orlando, Florida

County lawmakers are also urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to open up a mass vaccine site at the coliseum.

The new leaseholders will have some planning to do once the state ban on entertainment gathering is lifted. The Islanders are in their final season playing at "The Barn" before moving to UBS Arena in Elmont for the 2021-2022 season.