The NHL’s New York Islanders are considering options for a new arena, and the New York Mets might help bring the team to Queens.
There is more about this story on our sister site Arena Digest, but the Islanders are mulling a move from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Though a state-of-the-art venue in several respects, the Barclays Center proved to be an inadequate hockey facility during its first season hosting the team, something evidenced by complaints from fans and players alike.
With a return to Nassau County Coliseum unlikely, the Islanders are looking for a new arena, with Queens and Willets Point is emerging as a formidable contender. The Islanders have been discussing the proposal with Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities, and Bloomberg is reporting that some with knowledge of the situation say it has been in the works for some time:
The Islanders, who are owned by Value Retail Plc founder Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky, and Sterling Equities, which owns the Mets, have been discussing a possible move to Queens for months, said the people.
The team is being advised in the talks by Oak View Group, a consulting firm founded by ex-AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff, who is a business partner of the Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the Knicks and the Rangers. MSG CEO James Dolan once gave Azoff credit for bringing hall-of-fame basketball coach Phil Jackson to the Knicks.
Sterling Equities, along with Related Companies, has worked through several legal disputes in an effort to redevelop Willets Point under the Queens Development Group. The plan calls for use a mixed-use development that would include a mall as well as housing, retail, entertainment space, and more.
The area around Citi Field has also been discussed for other sports facilities. At one point, New York City F.C. had discussed building a soccer-specific stadium near the ballpark but that plan fizzled out, in part because of a dispute with the Mets over parking revenue.
This is also not the first that we have heard of the Mets and Islanders sharing in Queens. Back in 2010, Jeff Wilpon was reportedly in talks with Charles Wang about such a move.