LONG ISLAND - Not far from where center ice will one day be, the highest steel beam was installed on Friday at UBS Arena.
It’s history in the making on the $1 billion project that will lead to the New York Islanders’ illustrious return to Long Island.
“It gives us a hope and a prospect to focus on for a future that will be bright,” said Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky.
The project, which is still slated to be completed on time next fall, is the focal point of a multimillion-dollar development at Belmont Park that will include a hotel and retail village. The plan is to reinvigorate New York’s economy.
“We are creating 10,000 construction jobs, 3,200 permanent jobs, we are generating $2.7 billion in economic activity in the construction alone and anticipate $850 million every year in economic output once the full project is complete,” said Steven Cohen, Board Chair of Empire State Development.
Officials say 700 union members are on the job right now with more workers expected to join once the arena is enclosed. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says it’s a much needed shot in the arm for the county.
“Service jobs, entertainment jobs, it’s local jobs. It’s the kind of work that we need,” she said.
About 1,000 employees will be hired to run the building that officials say will accommodate 18,000 fans for hockey and up to 20,000 for concerts. Concourses will be twice as large as the Islander’s former home at the Nassau Coliseum.
“Our ability to get trucks in and out of here quicker than any other building, more seats in the lower bowl, acoustical panels on the top of the roof,” said Tim Leiweke, Chief Executive of Oak View Group.
Belmont’s original LIRR station opened back in 1905. But with the new arena comes a brand new state-of-the-art station that’s being privately funded at no cost to taxpayers.
“We end up reimbursing them for the cost of the station over the period of this lease that will service this east and west once it’s fully completed,” Leiweke said.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will make the final call on when to drop the puck for the Islanders’ inaugural game.
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