Five years after the announcement of a 25-year lease at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the New York Islanders are already returning home-well, not quite home, but at least back out of New York City and onto the land mass* where they began.
As it stands, the process is down to two sports-related proposals.
The Islanders' bid was submitted by New York Arena Partners, a limited liability company whose partners include the hockey team, a development group tied to New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, and a third group whose investors include Madison Square Garden.
Major League Soccer's New York City Football Club had also sought the land.More news: Google Chrome's ad-blocking feature launching in February
The Islanders' plan calls for an 18,000-seat arena adjacent to the Belmont Park grandstand, which will host 41 Islanders games a year plus an additional 100-plus events. Islanders players all live on Long Island, and the team invested millions of dollars in a new practice facility at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, near their former home rink. The Islanders moved out of their previous home, the Nassau County Veterans Coliseum, in 2015, and now play in Brooklyn's Barclay's Center.
The Islanders are contractually obligated to play at Barclays Center through next season, and owner Jon Ledecky confirmed that's exactly what they will do.
Both the Islanders and NYCFC now see themselves in poor situations in regards to their respective homes with the Islanders playing out of Barclays Center and NYCFC out of Yankee Stadium. The Belmont Park site has been cited as having a few advantages for the Islanders, including a more accessible location for the team's fan base on Long Island and enough room for surrounding development.
The property set aside for the new hockey arena borders on the Cross Island Parkway adjacent to the racetrack's grandstand.
The Islanders also want to solidify their arena future to improve their chances of re-signing their star center John Tavares to a new long-term contract.