Less than two months after Nassau County residents voted down a $400 million proposal to build a new Coliseum in Uniondale that would be financed by taxpayers, another plan for the sports and entertainment venue has emerged.
Earlier this week the Associated Press reported that "a group of developers, business leaders and community planners is proposing a privately financed redevelopment of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and its surrounding 77-acre property."
The $346.5 million plan was designed by architect Angelo Francis Corva, of the West Hempstead-based , in less than two weeks.
"We started the design the Friday before Labor Day and concluded it within 11 days with some very intense 20-hour work days," Corva, 63, of Manhasset, told Patch in a recent interview about his proposal.
He credited Oyster Bay Town Planning Commissioner Frederick Ippolito, for taking the lead in the project, bringing on himself and another firm, Sidney B. Bowne & Son. They all became a part of a committee "organized to put forth some positive thoughts and spur action at the Coliseum site," Corva explained.
Unlike the failed proposal, which would have demolished the existing Coliseum once a new one was constructed, Corva's plan involves overhauling and expanding the original structure.
They would lift the roof as much as 25 feet and expand the promenade running around the building, keeping the Coliseum operational throughout the construction but adding approximately 4,000 seats — bringing the total capacity to around 20,000 — plus more corporate boxes. The inside and outside of the building, including the façade, would be refurbished too.
"It would basically be a new Coliseum, but with the bones of the existing structure," Corva said, with the exception of the roof, which would be taken down once they complete building the new one above it. The plan also calls for the hockey team occupying the Coliseum — presumably the New York Islanders if the NHL team decides to stay — to share the ice rink with the public.
Adjacent to the Coliseum would be a 16-story parking structure to house 6,800 cars, the same amount of spots in the current lot, freeing up this space for other attractions. South of the Coliseum there would be a 100,000-square-foot minor league baseball stadium with a practice facility, which would both also be shared with the public, according to Corva.
“The minor league stadium would be domed so it could be used 12 months a year,” he said.
To the west, you’d find 75,000 square feet of retail stores and restaurants, and a pedestrian bridge connecting the Coliseum to Mitchel Field. After these projects are completed, the county would still have two additional parcels of land — 4.9 acres to the northeast and 19.2 to the southwest — to develop in the future.
Another major difference between this proposal and the one voters rejected on Aug. 1 is that it would be privately financed with no monetary support from the public — they are currently seeking investors.
In his 35-plus years of experience, Corva has designed 850 movie theaters across the country, an ice rink in Bethpage, a municipal parking structure in Hicksville and 25 buildings at Hofstra University, to name a few of his credits. He sees his latest project as “innovative,” having the ability to “promote a spark to a site that is underutilized and create a vision.”
And he adds, “It will also bring some pride to West Hempstead.”