|Former names||Belmont Park Arena (planning/construction)|
|Address||2150 Hempstead Turnpike|
|Location||Elmont, New York, U.S.|
|Public transit||Elmont and Belmont Park|
|Owner||New York Arena Partners|
|Operator||New York Islanders|
|Capacity||Ice hockey: 17,113|
|Broke ground||September 23, 2019|
|Construction cost||$1 billion (including development)|
JRDV Urban International
|New York Islanders (NHL) 2021– (planned)|
UBS Arena is a $1.5 billion multi-purpose arena under construction and development in Elmont, New York, next to the Belmont Park race track. The venue is projected to open for the 2021–22 NHL season. The arena will serve as the home of the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL) and will host around 150 major events annually. UBS holds the exclusive naming rights to the arena.
Construction on the Lighthouse Project was not planned to begin until at least mid-2009. Nassau County approved the project in 2006 on a 16–2 vote, and the draft environmental impact statement was completed after a state-mandated environmental review. The Lighthouse Project was then expected to go before the Town of Hempstead for approval on a change in land zoning. However, the approval was never granted. After the October 2009 deadline passed, the Long Island Press reported the Lighthouse Project's cancellation.
On July 12, 2010, Town Supervisor Kate Murray (R-Hempstead) announced an “alternate zone” created for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum property, downsizing the original Lighthouse Project to half its proposed size and making the project, according to then-Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and the developers, "economically unviable for both the developer and owner of the site". From that point, the Lighthouse Project would no longer be pursued by then-Islanders owner Charles Wang, Mangano and the developers.
In May 2010, Jeff Wilpon, COO of the New York Mets of Major League Baseball, had discussions with Wang about constructing a new arena for the Islanders in the Willets Point neighborhood of Queens, adjacent to the Mets' ballpark, Citi Field. Wilpon also discussed the possibility of buying the Islanders. In June 2010, the website FanHouse reported that Jeff and Fred Wilpon, the owner of the Mets, began working with real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (who is also working on the renovation of Madison Square Garden) on a feasibility study of a new Islanders arena in Queens. However, a source from Newsday indicated that the FanHouse report was not true. There were also reports that businessman Nelson Peltz wanted to buy the Islanders and move them to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
On May 11, 2011, the Islanders and Nassau County executives announced that county residents would vote on a referendum for approval of a $400 million public bond issue for a new plan to replace the Coliseum. The plan, including the construction of a new $350 million arena as well as a $50 million minor league baseball ballpark nearby, was presented by Wang as a last-ditch effort to keep the Islanders in Nassau County. However, voters in Nassau County rejected a proposal by a 57% to 43% margin on August 1, 2011.
Since the Islanders moved to Barclays Center, there have been numerous complaints about obstructed-view seats. The arena was built primarily for basketball, and has a hockey configuration in which the scoreboard is off-centered above the blue line, and an asymmetrical seating configuration with only three rows of permanent seating on the northwest end of the arena. As a result, many seats are obstructed, with several hundred not sold at all. Business Insider has called sections 201 to 204 and 228 to 231 "the worst seat in American professional sports". In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark acknowledged the issue, but insisted nothing can be done: "There's really nothing we’re going to do from a capital improvement standpoint. You can watch the game on your mobile device. The game is on the scoreboard." There have been numerous complaints about the quality of the ice during hockey games. The arena uses PVC piping instead of steel piping under the ice surface, making it much harder to maintain NHL standards and temperature.
On September 23, 2019, the groundbreaking was held for the arena featuring New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and officials, alumni and current players from the Islanders.
On March 27, 2020, construction was paused due to an order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to stop all non-essential construction work until April 21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 16, 2020, it was announced that the pause was extended to May 15, 2020. On May 9, 2020, it was announced that the pause was further extended to May 23, 2020.
On May 27, 2020, construction resumed as part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's phased regional reopening plan for New York State. Team officials said that they expect construction to finish in time for the Islanders to begin play there in October 2021, despite the 2 month pause.
Social and economic footprint
The $1.5 billion project and surrounding redevelopment expected to generate approximately $25 billion in economic activity, including major infrastructure improvements, 10,000 construction jobs, and 3,000 permanent jobs of which 30% are to be set aside for local residents.
The $1.5 billion private investment into the arena and the overall surrounding campus will provide a significant boost, of approximately $25 billion, to the regional economy at a time when economic activity has slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will also inject much needed stimulus into the New York economy and the local community, with the goal of filling 30% of UBS Arena's permanent jobs with workers who live in the surrounding area. Thirty percent of contracting dollars for construction will also be earmarked for state-certified minority and female-owned businesses, and 6% will be earmarked for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. There also are plans for an additional $100 million investment in transit and infrastructure enhancements, including the first newly constructed Long Island Rail Road station in almost 50 years.
- O'Leary, Matt (September 29, 2019). "New York Islanders: UBS Arena Already Has a Nickname". FanSided. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "PHOTOS: Belmont Park Arena Groundbreaking". NHL.com. September 23, 2019. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- Compton, Brian (September 23, 2019). "Islanders break ground for new arena on Long Island". NHL.com. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
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- Walker, Tom (August 13, 2019). "New York's US$1.3bn Belmont Park indoor arena approved – design team includes JRDV Architects, Populous and Stantec". CLAD News. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
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- "Last chance for Islanders? Arena plans rest on Aug. 1 vote". Yahoo! Sports.
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- Raskin, Alex (October 2, 2015). "The Good Views and Bad Views About Barclays Center". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Everything You Need to Know About Barclays Center's Hockey Configuration". New York Magazine. September 13, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- Garber, Jonathan (October 12, 2015). "Brooklyn's Barclays Center might have the worst seat in American professional sports". Business Insider.
- Fuchs, Jeremy (February 3, 2016). "Islanders tackling many challenges during first season in Brooklyn". Sports Illustrated.
- "In Year 2, Barclays Center Ice Still a Problem". lighthousehockey.com. October 22, 2016.
- "Governor Cuomo Breaks Ground on New Belmont Park Arena". NHL.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Long Island's & NYC's News Source - Newsday". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-08-18.
- "Islanders Belmont Park Arena Naming Rights Going To UBS". www.sportsbusinessdaily.com. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
- "NHL: UBS reaches 20-year pact for Islanders' arena naming rights". Reuters.com. July 22, 2020.
- Berman, Jeff (July 22, 2020). "UBS Scores Naming Rights to New NY Islanders NHL Venue". ThinkAdvisor. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
Barclays Center &
| Home of the
New York Islanders