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Colony Diner Owner Wants New Arena

George Strifas said a no vote on bond referendum would bite into his profits.

George Strifas' Colony Diner is less than two miles from the Nassau Coliseum, once the center of the hockey universe.

Though the Isles are nearly three decades removed from their Stanley Cup winning years, the team still generates revenue for area businesses.

Patch spoke to Strifas about the $400 million bond referendum scheduled for Aug. 1, and the importance of keeping the Islanders on Long Island.

Patch: What does an Islanders game night mean to your diner?

Strifas: Before the game, we generally bring in 150 people or so. I can tell because most of them are wearing jerseys. Financially, many Islanders games are worth up to $1,000 before a game and $500 after a game. It's about half of that on a Tuesday night.

Patch: Why else do you support the new arena?

Strifas: It's about much more than just the Islanders, though this will help them put a good product on the ice. A new arena means more concerts and more activities in the area. It's a quality issue.

Patch: But homeowners in Nassau County are already paying high property taxes, and some have voiced a concern that they can't afford to pay more.

Strifas: I live here. As a resident, I pay a lot in property taxes. But it's a 30-year bond, which will cost every homeowner about $40 per year. Come on man. I went to Carvel the other night and it cost us $18.

Patch: What happens if the voters reject the bond?

Strifas: Forget me. Every eatery in the area will take a hit. We would have a few less servers. For the servers on staff, it would probably come out to be 3-to-4 percent less in yearly income because of fewer tips. It could mean a $100,000 swing for our business, but that's not the concern. Just think about the servers and our vendors. They're the ones who will feel it.

Alan Smithee June 07, 2011 at 02:01 PM
MerrickGuy: Believe me, it kills me that the Lighthouse project failed because of all the fear, uncertainty and doubt Kate Murray cast about taxpayer burden, and now she's done a 180 and is embracing this bond issue. But, sadly, that ship has sailed (nautical pun intended). I'm not crazy about a bond issue being used to build a new "areener", to quote Mangano, but taking your adjusted-for-inflation numbers, $45.67 per year is not a terrible number. Rolled into the escrow payments of my mortgage, it's less than $4/month, which is a drop in the bucket compared to what my school district's ever-increasing budget costs me. It could be worse, and I'd imagine that the shortfall in sales tax from losing 41 Islanders games if the team moves, plus the risk of the Coliseum going dark altogether without a primary tenant, would be much worse for my bottom line. As for your comment about the smart folks on LI, a lot of folks are going to vote for this with their hearts rather than their heads, whether it's out of a desire to keep the Islanders on Long Island or a knee-jerk reaction to a large bond issue. Tell you what, though - if $45.67 per year is too much for your family to bear, I'll treat you to dinner before Opening Night of the Isles' season for the next 30 years. I know a great diner in East Meadow...
John Rielly June 07, 2011 at 02:07 PM
So MerrickGuy let's just completely disregard the tax revenue and the jobs that 41 home games a year brings. While we're at it let's just completely disregard all the places to eat that the fans go to and the people that those places employ. Just mention Colony Diner because that's the only place Islander fans eat at. While you're at it, great job not mentioning what it means to have a local professional sports team. What the players do for the community. Let's not mention the youth programs and fund-raisers that the team does for many great causes in the area. You really gotta get a clue and not just talk about your agenda. How bout doing the math on the difference of having a 41 home games a year, a new hub, and a cool place to hang out vs. not having those 41 games a year, a crumbling building that will not generate revenue regardless of your lies because who in their right mind would want to perform there. Try redoing the math with what I mentioned if you really want to debate this.
MerrickGuy June 07, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Alan, Thanks for the great commentary and perspective. I completely agree that it is not a ton of money but I think we have other priorities before we provide Wang with a windfall. I cannot vote for this based on principle because they haven't provided any transparency and there is not enough upside in this deal for the county. I wonder if Mr. Strifas would be fore the coliseum if we voted to slap a special assessment on local eateries that benefit from the construction. That being said, I'd rather eat a Borrelli's! See you there opening night!!
MerrickGuy June 07, 2011 at 02:27 PM
According to the most recent data, total revenue from the coliseum is $22 million. Total tax revenue according to Nassau County is $3 billion, so the coliseum contributes 0.7% to our revenue. How much extra do we spend in police and roadwork? What if we shopped out a better deal? Could we make more revenue. Assuming this deal can continue to make the county $22 million and we could issue bonds at 5.5% this deal might break even at best! Who provides financing to breakeven? Wang couldn't run Computer Associates or the Islanders. Maybe he should focus on putting a decent team on the ice instead of trading all the top talent to other teams.
Tony S July 03, 2011 at 04:09 AM
John. Nassau does NOT receive "millions and millions of dollars they received in tax revenue yearly". The county on a good year gets 1.5 million and it costs them more than that to yearly to maintain the place (and thats due to the politically appointed patronage job hacks performing maintenance) Nassau should not be into owning a Coliseum.. we tried with the Nssau Verterans Memorial Coliseum and it did not work. Taxpayer subsidy of a billionaires hockey team made up of millionaire players is a BAD idea and has NEVER proved profitable for any municipality that has done it. VOTE NO ON AUGUST 1st and save yourself $50 - $100 in additional property taxes each year for the next 30 years.
Tony S July 03, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Hey Gutty.. good way to add to a discussion calling others morons.. would seem to be you're the one with diminished metal capabilities for posting such arcane drivel. My tax bill is a killer and it won't go up by voting NO. It in fact will keep from going up an additional $50 - $100 a year for the next 30 years by voting NO on August 1st. I've attended each of the public outreach meetings and none of the numbers being put forth add up and all are based on unsupported projections . I've read the lease that was drawn up and it's awful .. a measly 11.5% on something that taxpaying public has to assume the lions share of risk on and we don't even retain the profits from the naming rights on "the taxpayer owned Arena". Laughable. VOTING NO on August 1st as are every one of my friends and neighbors.
Tony S July 03, 2011 at 04:22 AM
George Strifas I guess I won't be patronizing your greasy spoon diner anymore but I will be VOTING NO on August 1st .
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:07 AM
Michael Turner of East Meadow couldn't help but disagree. He too felt the Aug. 1 vote is a bit too soon and also added that many residents will not be aware of the standalone vote considering it is amid summer vacation. "If you wait four more months to the November vote when you've got thousands of residents coming, everybody will have a right," Turner said. "It won't be disenfranchised because they're on vacation or they don't get a letter saying you can have an absentee ballot. This is a big issue, it's a 30 year commitment." Another common concern among the community was the tax increase that will effect Nassau County residents. Though the number is currently unknown, taxpayers can expect to see a $48-$58 addition. Tom Gallagher of Wantagh felt his taxes should not be impacted from this project. "If the vote doesn't pass, we will be paying for this election," Gallagher said. East Meadow homeowner Jose Ramos, a United States veteran, agreed with Gallagher and expressed his concern in regards to the undetermined amount of time taxpayers will be charged for this plan. "When the revenue is coming in, you don't need my $48 anymore," Ramos said. "The revenue should be taking care of it. Once a tax goes in, it never comes out. If there's an end date I could see, then maybe I could consider this." http://eastmeadow.patch.com/articles/county-officials-respond-to-residents-on-new-arena-proposal
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:07 AM
NIFA board member George Marlin … argued that publicly financed stadiums have been historically "great for the owners but bad for the taxpayers." "They want to stick the taxpayers with $400 million in debt without providing an economic analysis, a feasibility study, a cost analysis, no figures in terms of the sharing of fees and no environmental impact study," Marlin said. "They went public with this without the facts." Vote on Nassau arena could cost $1.8M Originally published: May 13, 2011 http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/vote-on-nassau-arena-could-cost-1-8m-1.2875652 - George Marlin, a member of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the state monitoring board overseeing the county's finances, said that under the deal, taxpayers would be on the hook for the entire debt service -- more than $800 million. "While it appears the economics of the project are built on optimistic assumptions and projections, nevertheless, the inescapable fact is that there will be a built-in 3 to 4 percent Coliseum property tax," Marlin said Wednesday. Critics: Coliseum deal would mean tax hike Originally published: June 22, 2011 http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/critics-coliseum-deal-would-mean-tax-hike-1.2976626
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:08 AM
Enviromental study results to be provided AFTER the vote! - The environmental assessment, mandated by New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act, will examine the proposed $400 million development's possible impact on area traffic, air, water and noise quality, visual aesthetics and human health. In addition, Sahn suggested that issues regarding groundwater, as well as sanitary and septic disposal, could require additional study. The demolition of the existing Coliseum, which the county concedes contains asbestos, will also require careful disposal. The SEQRA review, begun several weeks ago by planners and engineers from the Department of Public Works, is expected to be completed after the Aug. 1 vote. http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-doing-review-of-coliseum-property-1.2989675
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:12 AM
Nassau County is preparing to transfer $2.2 million into the coffers of the Board of Elections to fund a special election that could determine the fate of the Nassau Coliseum, multiple sources confirmed Thursday. About 6,000 absentee ballots will be mailed to those on the election board's permanent list. Individuals not on that list who will be out of town on Aug. 1 can request an absentee ballot from the board. But with the exception of newly enrolled voters, residents will not receive a confirmation card detailing their polling site because a countywide mailing costs up to $500,000, Biamonte said. Residents should go to their usual voting site to cast their ballots, he said. About 20 voting sites are unavailable on Aug. 1 and will have to be relocated, Biamonte said. Meanwhile, roughly 75 percent of the voting sites -- generally public schools, libraries and firehouses -- do not have air conditioning, a possible concern in the sweltering August heat. The majority of the 5,443 Election Day employees, including poll coordinators, inspectors, chairmen and translators, are in their 70s, he said. Nassau to weigh funds for Coliseum vote Originally published: July 1, 2011 8:26 PM http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-to-weigh-funds-for-coliseum-vote-1.2999695
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:15 AM
The Economic Impact of Sports Facilities on Metropolitan Areas” Few fields of empirical economic research offer virtual unanimity of findings. Yet, independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development. These results stand in distinct contrast to the promotional studies that are typically done by consulting firms under the hire of teams or local chambers of commerce supporting facility development. Typically, such promotional studies project future impact and almost inevitably adopt unrealistic assumptions regarding local value added, new spending, and associated multipliers. They often use a regional input output model that depends on outdated technical coefficients which are treated as invariant to shifts in supply and demand. The academic work on the economic impact of sports facilities and teams does not rely upon projection. Rather, it compares the local economic performance of areas with and without stadiums, arenas, and teams, controlling for other variables that affect local economic conditions. http://www.uwlax.edu/faculty/anderson/micro-principles/stadiums.pdf
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:16 AM
Copy of the “Economic Impact Analysis” (Camoin Associates) for the Uniondale Hub Redevelopment Project. http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/58550861 Link provided in this Forbes article http://blogs.forbes.com/mikeozanian/2011/06/23/economics-of-islanders-new-arena-hinge-on-hockey-teams-performance/
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:16 AM
Lease agreement between Nassau & Wang http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2010/documents/LEASEIslanders
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:18 AM
Analysis: Coliseum loan would raise taxes Published: June 14, 2011 11:16 PM http://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/analysis-coliseum-loan-would-raise-taxes-1.2957611
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:21 AM
The new stadium included more bars, restaurants and shops selling Yankees merchandise and memorabilia to compete with local merchants. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304450604576415943084878506.html?mod=WSJ_NY_MIDDLELEADNewsCollection
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 08:26 AM
The entire idea of Wang leaving LI is ridiculous. The main reason given is that Wang loses $20 mil a year on the Islanders. Of course Wang conveniently leaves his lucrative cable TV money out of the “losing” equation. He gets around $20+ mil a year now, which is rising up incrementally to $36 mil a year by 2030, at the end of the contract. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/11/sports/tv-sports-rich-cable-deal-lessens-isles-misery.html?ref=edwardmilstein The cable money is also left out of the lease agreement with Nassau County that this financial house of cards is based on. No 11.5% of the multi-million dollar cable income to the taxpayers that are financing the new Islander stadium. http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2010/documents/LEASEIslanders.pdf Where is Wang going to take the mediocre Islanders and get a contract of that size? NY Islanders 38 Seasons (GP-W-L-T-OTL-SOL) 3042-1313-1308-347-46-28 0.501% http://www.hockeydb.com/stte/new-york-islanders-7085.html Send them back to the table. The alternative is a joint venture in which all parties (public & private) have a pound of flesh in the mix and share equally in the risk/rewards.
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:36 AM
NIFA board member George Marlin … argued that publicly financed stadiums have been historically "great for the owners but bad for the taxpayers." "They want to stick the taxpayers with $400 million in debt without providing an economic analysis, a feasibility study, a cost analysis, no figures in terms of the sharing of fees and no environmental impact study," Marlin said. "They went public with this without the facts." Vote on Nassau arena could cost $1.8M Originally published: May 13, 2011 http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/vote-on-nassau-arena-could-cost-1-8m-1.2875652 - George Marlin, a member of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the state monitoring board overseeing the county's finances, said that under the deal, taxpayers would be on the hook for the entire debt service -- more than $800 million. "While it appears the economics of the project are built on optimistic assumptions and projections, nevertheless, the inescapable fact is that there will be a built-in 3 to 4 percent Coliseum property tax," Marlin said Wednesday. Critics: Coliseum deal would mean tax hike Originally published: June 22, 2011 http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/critics-coliseum-deal-would-mean-tax-hike-1.2976626 ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:36 AM
Enviromental study results to be provided AFTER the vote! - The environmental assessment, mandated by New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act, will examine the proposed $400 million development's possible impact on area traffic, air, water and noise quality, visual aesthetics and human health. In addition, Sahn suggested that issues regarding groundwater, as well as sanitary and septic disposal, could require additional study. The demolition of the existing Coliseum, which the county concedes contains asbestos, will also require careful disposal. The SEQRA review, begun several weeks ago by planners and engineers from the Department of Public Works, is expected to be completed after the Aug. 1 vote. http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-doing-review-of-coliseum-property-1.2989675 ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:37 AM
Nassau County is preparing to transfer $2.2 million into the coffers of the Board of Elections to fund a special election that could determine the fate of the Nassau Coliseum, multiple sources confirmed Thursday. About 6,000 absentee ballots will be mailed to those on the election board's permanent list. Individuals not on that list who will be out of town on Aug. 1 can request an absentee ballot from the board. But with the exception of newly enrolled voters, residents will not receive a confirmation card detailing their polling site because a countywide mailing costs up to $500,000, Biamonte said. Residents should go to their usual voting site to cast their ballots, he said. About 20 voting sites are unavailable on Aug. 1 and will have to be relocated, Biamonte said. Meanwhile, roughly 75 percent of the voting sites -- generally public schools, libraries and firehouses -- do not have air conditioning, a possible concern in the sweltering August heat. The majority of the 5,443 Election Day employees, including poll coordinators, inspectors, chairmen and translators, are in their 70s, he said. Nassau to weigh funds for Coliseum vote Originally published: July 1, 2011 8:26 PM http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-to-weigh-funds-for-coliseum-vote-1.2999695 ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:38 AM
The Economic Impact of Sports Facilities on Metropolitan Areas” Few fields of empirical economic research offer virtual unanimity of findings. Yet, independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development. These results stand in distinct contrast to the promotional studies that are typically done by consulting firms under the hire of teams or local chambers of commerce supporting facility development. Typically, such promotional studies project future impact and almost inevitably adopt unrealistic assumptions regarding local value added, new spending, and associated multipliers. They often use a regional input output model that depends on outdated technical coefficients which are treated as invariant to shifts in supply and demand. The academic work on the economic impact of sports facilities and teams does not rely upon projection. Rather, it compares the local economic performance of areas with and without stadiums, arenas, and teams, controlling for other variables that affect local economic conditions. http://www.uwlax.edu/faculty/anderson/micro-principles/stadiums.pdf ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Copy of the “Economic Impact Analysis” (Camoin Associates) for the Uniondale Hub Redevelopment Project. http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/58550861 Link provided in this Forbes article http://blogs.forbes.com/mikeozanian/2011/06/23/economics-of-islanders-new-arena-hinge-on-hockey-teams-performance/ ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:39 AM
Enviromental study results to be provided AFTER the vote! - The environmental assessment, mandated by New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act, will examine the proposed $400 million development's possible impact on area traffic, air, water and noise quality, visual aesthetics and human health. In addition, Sahn suggested that issues regarding groundwater, as well as sanitary and septic disposal, could require additional study. The demolition of the existing Coliseum, which the county concedes contains asbestos, will also require careful disposal. The SEQRA review, begun several weeks ago by planners and engineers from the Department of Public Works, is expected to be completed after the Aug. 1 vote. http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-doing-review-of-coliseum-property-1.2989675 ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:40 AM
Nassau County is preparing to transfer $2.2 million into the coffers of the Board of Elections to fund a special election that could determine the fate of the Nassau Coliseum, multiple sources confirmed Thursday. About 6,000 absentee ballots will be mailed to those on the election board's permanent list. Individuals not on that list who will be out of town on Aug. 1 can request an absentee ballot from the board. But with the exception of newly enrolled voters, residents will not receive a confirmation card detailing their polling site because a countywide mailing costs up to $500,000, Biamonte said. Residents should go to their usual voting site to cast their ballots, he said. About 20 voting sites are unavailable on Aug. 1 and will have to be relocated, Biamonte said. Meanwhile, roughly 75 percent of the voting sites -- generally public schools, libraries and firehouses -- do not have air conditioning, a possible concern in the sweltering August heat. The majority of the 5,443 Election Day employees, including poll coordinators, inspectors, chairmen and translators, are in their 70s, he said. Nassau to weigh funds for Coliseum vote Originally published: July 1, 2011 8:26 PM http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-to-weigh-funds-for-coliseum-vote-1.2999695 ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:41 AM
The Economic Impact of Sports Facilities on Metropolitan Areas” Few fields of empirical economic research offer virtual unanimity of findings. Yet, independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development. These results stand in distinct contrast to the promotional studies that are typically done by consulting firms under the hire of teams or local chambers of commerce supporting facility development. Typically, such promotional studies project future impact and almost inevitably adopt unrealistic assumptions regarding local value added, new spending, and associated multipliers. They often use a regional input output model that depends on outdated technical coefficients which are treated as invariant to shifts in supply and demand. The academic work on the economic impact of sports facilities and teams does not rely upon projection. Rather, it compares the local economic performance of areas with and without stadiums, arenas, and teams, controlling for other variables that affect local economic conditions. http://www.uwlax.edu/faculty/anderson/micro-principles/stadiums.pdf ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:41 AM
.Copy of the “Economic Impact Analysis” (Camoin Associates) for the Uniondale Hub Redevelopment Project. http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/58550861 Link provided in this Forbes article http://blogs.forbes.com/mikeozanian/2011/06/23/economics-of-islanders-new-arena-hinge-on-hockey-teams-performance/ ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:43 AM
Lease agreement between Nassau & Wang http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2010/documents/LEASEIslanders.pdf
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:44 AM
Analysis: Coliseum loan would raise taxes Published: June 14, 2011 11:16 PM http://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/analysis-coliseum-loan-would-raise-taxes-1.2957611 ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:44 AM
The new stadium included more bars, restaurants and shops selling Yankees merchandise and memorabilia to compete with local merchants. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304450604576415943084878506.html?mod=WSJ_NY_MIDDLELEADNewsCollection ..
An tUasal Airgead July 03, 2011 at 10:45 AM
The entire idea of Wang leaving LI is ridiculous. The main reason given is that Wang loses $20 mil a year on the Islanders. Of course Wang conveniently leaves his lucrative cable TV money out of the “losing” equation. He gets around $20+ mil a year now, which is rising up incrementally to $36 mil a year by 2030, at the end of the contract. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/11/sports/tv-sports-rich-cable-deal-lessens-isles-misery.html?ref=edwardmilstein The cable money is also left out of the lease agreement with Nassau County that this financial house of cards is based on. No 11.5% of the multi-million dollar cable income to the taxpayers that are financing the new Islander stadium. http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2010/documents/LEASEIslanders.pdf Where is Wang going to take the mediocre Islanders and get a contract of that size? NY Islanders 38 Seasons (GP-W-L-T-OTL-SOL) 3042-1313-1308-347-46-28 0.501% http://www.hockeydb.com/stte/new-york-islanders-7085.html Send them back to the table. The alternative is a joint venture in which all parties (public & private) have a pound of flesh in the mix and share equally in the risk/rewards. ..

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