A controversial mixed-use project on Long Island overcame a key hurdle Monday when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement with a development group to build the first new Long Island Rail Road station in nearly 50 years.
The deal will see New York Arena Partners, a private group behind the proposed $1.26 billion redevelopment site on state-owned land surrounding the Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont, pay $97 million of the expected $105 million cost of constructing the new train station, Newsday reported. State funds will cover the rest.
Developers hope the new station served by the LIRR’s main line will alleviate concerns about a lack of public transportation to the Belmont Park project, whose most recent iteration includes a 19,000-seat arena and entertainment complex that will be home to the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders, a 250-room hotel and 435,000 square feet of retail space.
“Today we celebrate with our loyal fans and we thank [Gov.] Cuomo, the elected officials and the community for their ongoing support. Next stop: Belmont!” said a statement from Jon Ledecky, founder of U.S. Office Products and a co-owner of the Islanders.
The Real Deal reported in its Tri-State issue in May on the project hitting roadblocks in Elmont community groups concerned about an influx of traffic and a strain on local infrastructure. The plan for the new LIRR station is expected to include improvements to Belmont Park Road to help ease congestion.
Cuomo’s office also released an economic analysis Monday showing that the arena, hotel and retail village will produce $725 million in economic output for the region and generate nearly $50 million in new public revenue per year.
The board of Empire State Development (ESD) will meet Monday afternoon to decide on whether to accept and approve a final environmental impact statement for the Belmont Park project. Newsday and Long Island Business News reported that ESD is expected to do so, helping smooth the way for construction to start in the coming weeks.
Newsday noted that the Elmont LIRR station should be partially open by 2021, around the same time that the new arena for the Islanders opens its doors, and fully operational by 2023. [Newsday] — Aidan Gardiner