It’s been three years since the New York Islanders revealed that they would be pulling up stakes and leaving the SHoP-designed Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a purpose-built home in Nassau County, Long Island. Now, the hockey team has revealed that they’ve secured 20-year naming rights for the $1.5 billion “village” arena project and released a host of new renderings.
As a quick refresher (although any New York hockey fan would sure be familiar), Barclays has often butted up against the technical limitations of converting a basketball arena into a venue for hockey and fans have complained for years about the sub-optimal seating arrangements. As a result, the Islanders eyed returning to suburban Long Island, ultimately settling on a New York State-owned parking lot next to the Belmont Park Racetrack. Aside from the new arena and accompanying amenities, the project will also require building a $105 million, two-way Long Island Rail Road station, which the MTA approved funding for earlier in January.
Work on the Populous-designed arena, which will seat 19,000, has been well underway after breaking ground in September of last year. Once complete, the Belmont Park development is also expected to bring offices, a 315,000-square-foot retail “village,” and a 250-room hotel to the site.
With the news that financial services giant UBS has signed on for the arena’s naming rights, UBS Arena at Belmont Park is on track to open for the 2021-22 National Hockey League season, as well as 150 off-season events throughout the year. When in use by the Islanders, the arena will hold 17,000 seats, but when used as a concert venue, will seat the full 19,000.
Along with the naming news comes new interior renderings, which the development team (Oak View Group, the New York Islanders, and Sterling Project Development) have revealed will be based on “New York City landmarks” (despite the team being located outside of NYC). Those include “Grand Central Terminal, Prospect Park Boathouse and the Park Avenue Armory,” according to the UBS press release, and the accompanying renderings bear that out, up and to and including an arrival hall with a constellation mural on the ceiling akin to the one found in Grand Central.
The project is expected to generate 10,000 construction jobs, 3,000 permanent jobs, and up to $25 billion in associated economic activity over the 20 years of UBS’s leasing agreement.