Construction of the New York Islanders’ arena at Belmont Park is expected to begin “sometime in the next few months,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Newsday reported that the commissioner said he expects to break ground sometime in May, June or July at an Associated Press Sports Editors meeting last Friday.
“It’s still coming, I have no reason to believe it’s not,” he said.
The $1 billion project to redevelop Belmont Park includes an 18,000-seat sports arena, a 435,000-square-foot retail and entertainment space and a 250-room hotel. The Long Island Rail Road is working to expand service to the park for events year-round.
The project is currently in the environmental review stage, which may be approved by the end of June.
Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky told Newsday last month that the project is still on track for the Islanders to open the 2021-22 season at the new arena.
It is expected that next year the Islanders will again split their regular season games between the Nassau Coliseum and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Bettman said at the Associated Press meeting, according Newsday.
Empire State Development, the state agency facilitating the project, organized multiple community forums and received thousands of comments on the redevelopment of Belmont Park. Many raised concerns over increased traffic congestion on the Cross Island Parkway as a result of the expanded use of the park.