A new look for Nassau Coliseum

$130 million renovation is expected to be a boon to real estate values in the surrounding area

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

Billy Joel played the final concert at Nassau Coliseum before it closed for renovations in 2015,  so it seems only fitting that the Long Island native will be headlining the first show at the revamped arena on April 5. After a $130 million overhaul, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum will reopen with a diverse lineup of events, including concerts, college basketball, boxing and six appearances by the New York Islanders, whom many hope will eventually return to the venue permanently.

The renovated Coliseum in Uniondale is “a big draw” for investors involved in local commercial revitalization, said Christopher Hubbard of Re/Max Central Properties in nearby East Meadow. He anticipates the reopening will contribute to rising residential property values in the communities surrounding the arena. “It’s going through a boom,” said Hubbard. “Inventory is super low; demand is high. This will be gasoline to that fire.”

But some locals have expressed concerns that the area’s newfound popularity will create traffic congestion. The developer — Nassau Events Center (NEC), led by Bruce Ratner and Brett Yormark, the  duo behind Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — has taken steps to prevent that. “There are going to be multiple entrances along with a new parking facility,” said Brian Nevin, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s senior policy adviser. “That should alleviate traffic.”

Beyond expanding local entertainment options, the Coliseum will bring needed tax revenue to Nassau County, said Lou Grassi, CEO of accounting firm Grassi & Co., which has an office in Jericho. The venue is expected to generate $3.7 million in sales tax annually, while another $2.7 million in sales tax is expected to come from the new retail and entertainment options in the area.

“Obviously, it’s going to have an immediate impact, but not to the size and scale it could have had we had the Islanders back,” says Grassi. Like many area residents, he hopes county officials will be successful in persuading the hockey team to return to the arena from their current home at Barclays Center. 


Percentage of gross revenue from the Coliseum that Nassau County will keep — or a minimum of $4 million annually, whichever is greater. The county will also pocket a minimum of $400,000 annually from the retail component.

1.2 million

Number of people expected to attend events at the venue in the first year. The average ticket cost will be $48.96, with the total annual revenue from on-site ticket sales expected to hit $50.8 million, according to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA).


Number of acres of Coliseum Plaza development. The Coliseum itself is part of the larger development, which will include restaurants, shops, a movie theater and a nightclub.


The year the Coliseum first opened. The debut event at the arena, which had a $32 million price tag, was a basketball game featuring the New York Nets against the Pittsburgh Condors on Feb. 11. The renovated venue will hold up to 14,500 people for its largest events.

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Square footage of the Coliseum’s “Artist Quarters.” This customizable backstage area includes an artist living room, wellness center and other amenities. The 2017 artist lineup  includes Marc Anthony, Bruno Mars and Barbra Streisand, who is performing in her first Long Island concert since 1963.

$7 million

Projected yearly lodging revenue from event attendees staying in the county. The Coliseum is expected to draw 155,556 overnight visitors annually, with average room costs in the area estimated to be $44.75 per person for a two- to three-person room. Hotel tax revenue for the first year is expected to hit $208,845, according to the Nassau County IDA’s report.


The number of jobs in Nassau County projected to result from the Coliseum reopening. The project is expected to result in $86 million in earnings annually, with indirect earnings from construction work and other sources projected to hit $34 million per year, according to a report by consultancy Camoin Associates commissioned by the IDA.


Years Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has been in existence. “The Greatest Show on Earth” will send in the clowns for the last time at the Coliseum on May 21 after a 17-show run.


The record for the most sold-out concerts at the Coliseum in one year, set by Billy Joel in 1998. Tickets for his 33rd show at the arena sold out in less than four minutes when they went on sale in October.

$2 million or more

Utility costs for the Coliseum annually. Developer NEC assumed these costs, along with the responsibility for operating, insuring and maintaining the utilities, in August 2015.


Average amount an event goer will spend on food and beverages. Those hot dogs and sodas will add up to a projected $13.6 million in annual revenue. Local visitors are expected to spend another $3 on food off-site, while overnight visitors are projected to spend about $56, according to the county’s report.