New York state officials have released a request for proposals (RFP) to develop the 43 vacant acres at Belmont Park in Elmont.
The Islanders, who can opt out of the remaining 23 years on their lease with Barclays Center in January, are expected to be a bidder.
Newsday's Jim Baumbach reported in February that the team is working with Oak View Group, a sports arena development company backed by Madison Square Garden, on their proposal. Now, Robert Brodsky reports the group already has rendering of a potential arena in anticipation of the team's bid.
Bidders have until September 28 to submit a proposal.
Well, this is the moment Islanders fans have been waiting for, and it very well may be a perfect storm brewing that brings the team back to Nassau County.
Obviously, Barclays Center is never going to be perfect for hockey. We know that by now. And it's clear that some of the fan base, fair or not, just doesn't want to make the trek to Brooklyn. So what options does that leave ownership?
The Coliseum just isn't suitable, pre-or-post-renovation, to house a modern-day NHL franchise. And with the Willets Point redevelopment project tied up in continued litigation, it certainly feels like Belmont or bust right now. Provided the Isles can make it work with the community, it may be the best and most realistic solution.
At a listening session earlier in July, citizens of Elmont and the surrounding areas spoke passionately about how they want a resolution to the development purgatory the site has been in for years, and some were supportive of the Islanders being part of the solution.
So there is potential here, provided the team does some outreach work inside the community, to drum up local support for a new arena site. And, thankfully, with this being out of Nassau County politicians' hands, it seems like this is the first time this organization has a fair shot in getting the brand new arena of their own they've always deserved.