The man who will attempt to resurrect Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum is a familiar figure to developers of some of the most notable condominium projects in the U.S., having raised billions of dollars for them. But when it comes to spearheading projects of his own, his professional history is more troubled.
Nick Mastroianni II last year took over as leaseholder of the county-owned coliseum in Uniondale, the former home of the New York Islanders and the centerpiece of the $1.5 billion mixed-use “Nassau Hub” development he’s partnerning on with RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler.
The Nassau Coliseum shuttered in June 2020 as a result of the pandemic. When it reopens, it will compete with nearby UBS Arena, the Islanders’ new home in Elmont, set to open in November.
But Mastroianni, whose U.S. Immigration Fund raised EB-5 funds for major developers including Steve Witkoff, Ziel Feldman, Douglas Durst and Kushner Companies through the controversial cash-for-green-cards initiative, has no experience developing or operating event arenas and has not been involved in any major Long Island projects, Newsday reported in a wide-ranging profile.
The Rhode Island residential and commercial construction company he led at the start of his career collapsed in the early aughts. In 2002, Mastroianni was sued by a surety bond company attempting to recoup costs and was ordered to pay over $1 million to settle the suit.
In 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor accused Mastroianni of taking more than $400,000 in employer pension contributions for his own use — a sum it is unclear he ever repaid. The same year, he filed for federal bankruptcy protection in Rhode Island, listing more than $2.5 million in debts and just $69,100 in assets.
In 2005, Mastroianni abandoned his bankruptcy filing but it is unclear if and when he satisfied his debt.
The developer, who was raised in Huntington and is now based in Jupiter, Florida, told Newsday he “fully paid all of my obligations that arose from those situations.” He declined to be interviewed by the publication and instead responded to questions by email.
“Thomas Edison suffered through many failures before he literally ‘saw the light,’” Mastroianni said in one of those responses. “My career path has been similar.”
In July, Mastroianni sold a 25 percent stake in the coliseum lease to Fortress Investment Group, the prominent New York-based investment manager.
The Nassau Hub will include health care research facilities, hundreds of residential units and open space. Construction is set to begin in March 2022. No expected completion date has been disclosed.
In 2015, the Nassau Coliseum was closed for renovations, which were financed in part by raising $100 million from 200 Chinese investors through the EB-5 program.
[Newsday] — T.P. Yeatts