The story quoted half a dozen of Long Island's biggest developers -- some we know all too well (Scott Rechler and the ABLI trio of Burman, Polimeni and Blumenfeld) and some we dont -- but all were either coy about their interest of flat out uninterested in the RFQ.
Jan Burman, who you may remember from such proposals as ABLI's anti-referendum campaign and a failed bid for the property that was defeated by the Lighthouse Project, has what seems to me like a pretty accurate viewpoint on the whole ordeal:
"Until Charles Wang makes up his mind and decides what he's going to do, I think it's all political posturing on both sides," said Garden City developer Jan Burman, who bid on a county redevelopment proposal in 2005, but is undecided about the new request. "He really has the keys to the car," he said of Wang. "The most important guy is not in the room."
We've said on this blog before that both republican Mangano's RFQ and democrat Jay Jacob's crazy pants, attention whoring idea were both politically motivated to save face for their side. Now, we've got someone directly involved in the situation basically spelling it out for us.
To review, here's what we've got:
- Charles Wang is fed up with everything and likely going to sit on his hands. He had previously set a deadline of 12/31/12 to get a deal done. His understandable inaction may stall the entire process until the Islanders either move or decide to stay (the latter can't happen without a new Coliseum, so it seems like we're going in circles here).
- Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano put forth an RFQ which may or may not work and was likely done to save face.
- Nassau County democratic leader Jay Jacobs is stirring the pot.
- No one wants to deal with the Town of Hempstead and it's zoning requirements that make it impossible to build anything significant on the property. Today's article said as much, but got it straight from developers:
[Jericho developer Mark Hamer] and others also noted that no one has found a way to make money if they have to build or renovate an arena while following Hempstead Town's mixed-use zoning code, which limits the number of housing units that can be built.
- As today's article states, a lot of developers are staying away although it remains to be seen if anyone will respond to the RFQ. One big player who did not comment on his direction regarding the RFQ was former Lighthouse developer Scott Rechler. Rechler could be a wild card.