Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Still on Thin Ice

According to Fanhouse, the Wilpons are in a serious strategizing mode to bring the Islanders to Willets Point: "The owners of the New York Mets have begun discussions with a leading real estate firm to strategize for a potential arena in Queens that would house the NHL's New York Islanders, an industry source has told FanHouse. Jones Lang LaSalle, the project management company for the upcoming $775-850 million renovation of Madison Square Garden, has begun work on a feasibility study for an Islanders arena at Willets Point -- the property surrounding Citi Field, the second-year home of the Mets."

And this seems more than just blather for the Wilpons: "This is beyond the preliminary stage," said the source. "You don't bring in a big hitter like JLL unless you're serious. This tells me the Islanders and Mets have made progress in a partnership to take the hockey team to Queens. If Charles Wang and Nassau can't cut a deal, this will be a great option."

But will it? Make no mistake about it, an arena has never been part of the Willets Point development plan-and the benefits of a sports franchise, a hockey one at that, are fairly meager pickings compared to the extravagance that has been pie in the skied by the EDC flunkies for the 61 acre site. And since it hasn't been part of the plan, the idea that the city could simply parachute it in without a further review process, simply doesn't hold water.

Let the Wilpons bring it on, however, we'd welcome the mulligan. But, as for the Islander fans, we don't think they have a clear picture about the challenges of the site. As one fan commented: "This would be perfect it puts the Islanders 15 mins from my house... season ticket plan will be a go!" We don't know where the fella lives, but it will take fifteen minutes just to leave his driveway if the entire 9 million sq. ft. is built out. Some power play!