Las Vegas Sands, Nassau County Executive Announce Nassau Hub Deal
The Nassau Hub in Uniondale is one step closer to being the site of a casino.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein have come to a lease agreement for the Nassau Coliseum property, they announced during a news conference on Wednesday.
“We are going to develop the Coliseum site into a world-class hotel, a world-class entertainment center, and that is going to be funded by a casino,” Blakeman said. “And we believe that that will bring jobs, economic prosperity, tax relief, and improved safety here in Nassau County.”
The announcement was met with cheers and applause from the dozens of union workers and supporters of the project. The deal is subject to approval by the Nassau County Legislature.
If approved by Nassau’s legislative body, Las Vegas Sands will assume control of the Coliseum property to the tune of $54 million paid to the county. Whether a casino will be part of the resort that the Sands plans to build depends on whether New York State approves the Sands’ application for a casino license. The property will also need zoning approvals from Town of Hempstead.
To start out, the Sands will pay $5 million per year. If the Sands gets a casino license, the rent will then increase to $10 million per year. Once the casino is operational, the county would receive $25 million in additional payments in the first three years. After three years, annual payments to the county would increase to $50 million.
The Sands would also pay $1.8 million annually to the Nassau County Police Department for police enforcement in the area. In the deal, the Town of Hempstead, East Meadow, Uniondale, Village of Hempstead, and Village of Garden City will also receive revenue from the casino. The amounts would be at least cut in half without a casino as part of the resort.
“We will deliver the jobs you expect and want in this community. You won’t be disappointed in us,” Goldstein said. “We build top tier resorts … This will be the best hotel in New York.”
Matthew Aracich, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, noted that there is a project labor agreement as part of the deal to build the development with 8,500 new workers.
Ryan Stanton, executive director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and Garry Johnson, the NAACP New York State Conference Economic Development chair, also spoke in favor of the casino.
However, not all are optimistic about the anticipated revenue driver. Residents who are part of the Say No to the Casino Civic Association say that the negatives of a casino in Nassau would outweigh the economic benefits.
“County Executive Blakeman’s press conference today [was] nothing more than a publicity stunt to try to sway folks who are not paying enough attention, that the proposed Sands project is a fait accompli. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate yet. The reality is that this is far from a done deal,” the group said in a statement. “We have sent an open letter to our local unions inviting them to join us in our efforts to stop the casino proposal. We support our unions. We want them to work, we want them to build – we just don’t want them to build a casino.”
The group has cited gambling addiction, crime, traffic, and environmental concerns as reasons to reject the casino proposal.