Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the “topping off” of the UBS Arena, the new home of the New York Islanders at Belmont Park. Empire State Development Board Chair Steven M. Cohen and Acting Commissioner Eric Gertler joined National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky to place the highest steel beam atop the new arena, marking a major construction milestone for the project, which remains on schedule for opening ahead of the 2021-2022 National Hockey League season despite disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Islanders are Long Island’s team and they deserve a permanent home here among their fans. Today, we are taking another major step toward making that a reality, while building a brighter future for all New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “In New York, we have repeatedly shown that we can deliver big projects despite the odds — and in the face of delays related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Belmont team stepped up to keep this transformational project on schedule. This arena will boost our economy and is evidence — in steel and concrete — that New York will build back better from this crisis.”
“Today marks another significant step on the journey to the Islanders’ home opener of the 2021-22 season,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “No one – particularly the loyal fans of the Islanders – can wait until the team skates onto the ice of the spectacular UBS Arena. In the meantime, we marvel at the vision of Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky, the Oak View Group and Governor Cuomo, and the way they’ve worked together to turn that vision into reality – even remaining on schedule during these turbulent times.”
“UBS Arena is proud to serve as a beacon of hope for the community and New York’s economy,” said Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky. “Today’s milestone would not be possible without the vision, extraordinary support and unwavering commitment of Governor Cuomo.”
The UBS Arena at Belmont Park will be the home of the New York Islanders starting with the 2021-2022 season and is the centerpiece of the $1.3 billion Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, which also includes a hotel, office space, and world-class retail village. In conjunction with the project, the MTA will construct a new LIRR station at Elmont — the first new, full-time LIRR station built in decades. The majority of the station’s cost will be privately funded by the arena developer. Construction on the arena was delayed for two months when COVID-19 peaked in New York and non-essential businesses were closed, but is now back on schedule.
ESD Chairman of the Board Steven M. Cohen said, “The Belmont project will drive economic growth on Long Island and provide a world-class facility for the New York Islanders to call home, and this important milestone is a testament to the extraordinary progress underway. Under the Governor’s leadership, New York State is advancing historic projects all across the state that will create jobs, move our economy forward, and make a difference in people’s lives.”
ESD Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-delegate Eric Gertler said, “ESD is proud and excited about the tremendous progress being made at Belmont Park, as the UBS Arena moves one step closer to completion. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s vision and leadership, the Islanders’ new home is quickly becoming a reality — making longtime hockey fans happy and providing an economic boost through added jobs and tax revenues that will benefit Long Island’s economy.”
“We are proud to align ourselves with New York’s newest premier sports and entertainment venue,” said Michael Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, UBS Arena is poised to be one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the country. New York, and especially Long Island, is home to thousands of our patients as well as our employees. With 25,000 employees living near UBS Arena alone, this partnership allows us to reinforce our commitment to serving the community and we look forward to developing future health and wellness programming with UBS Arena and the New York Islanders.”
First announced in December 2017, the Belmont Redevelopment Project is transforming 43 acres of underutilized parking lots at Belmont Park into a premier sports and hospitality destination. Construction of the arena, retail village and hotel are projected to create 10,000 jobs and generate $2.7 billion in economic activity. Once complete, the project is expected to sustain 3,200 full-time jobs and produce $858 million in annual economic activity while generating tens of millions of dollars in new annual tax revenue.
The Belmont Redevelopment complements the billions of dollars invested on Long Island since Governor Cuomo took office – supporting the region’s world-class academic and research institutions, revitalizing downtowns, bolstering the agriculture, manufacturing and life sciences sectors, improving infrastructure and investing in the region’s tourism industry.