Plans due for Wang's $2-billion Lighthouse Project

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Plans for the "Lighthouse Project," the redevelopment of the Nassau Coliseum and its surrounding 77 acres are expected to be filed with the Town of Hempstead next week, sources familiar with the process said Thursday.

The complex $2-billion proposal, which is to include a bigger, better home for the New York Islanders as well as a mixture of housing, offices, a five-star hotel and retail development along a grand canal, is viewed by County Executive Thomas Suozzi as the keystone of his "New Suburbia" plans for central Nassau. The plans also feature a minor-league baseball stadium, conference and exhibition facilities, an athletic complex and sports technology center.

Charles Wang, owner of the hockey team, and Scott Rechler, chief executive and chairman of Uniondale-based RexCorp Realty, were selected by Nassau County to redevelop the county-owned property under a 99-year lease that has not been finalized. Hempstead must first evaluate the plans proposed by Lighthouse Development Group, a joint venture of Wang and Rechler to redevelop the arena.

Baltimore-based Development Design Group Inc. and The Spector Group of Woodbury are the master planners for the redevelopment project.

The aged, obsolete Coliseum has been a chronic source of frustration for the Islanders, who say Wang is losing $20 million a season and that fans and talented players are harder to attract because of it. Wang has been working to redevelop the arena since 2003.

The redevelopment proposal sites the new Coliseum within what the developers envision as a vibrant "24/7" center of entertainment and cultural events that might draw game spectators, other visitors and its own residents to come early and stay late to stroll, browse and dine.

The Lighthouse Group has formed a steering committee of community, business and government leaders to provide feedback and advice as traffic, environmental and other reviews proceed.

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