The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency unanimously approved a lease transfer of the Nassau Coliseum and the surrounding 72 acres known as the Hub to Las Vegas Sands at its meeting on Tuesday.
The lease transfer to the Sands, which will expire in 2050, allows the company full control of the Coliseum, though the Sands has not committed what the fate of the Nassau fixture’s fate will be.
Nassau County officials announced in 2020 that a deal was struck with Nassau Live Center LLC and Nick Mastroianni to take immediate control of the Coliseum as its new tenant.
Tuesday’s agreement transferred control of the lease from Mastroianni to Sands. An unidentified Sands representative told Newsday that the company plans to apply for tax breaks to support the $4 billion venture.
The representative told Newsday “We’ve had no discussions with the IDA about this at all. However, whatever agreement we structure with the IDA will certainly be better [for the taxing jurisdictions] as opposed to the present day where they receive $0 [in payments-in-lieu-of-taxes].”
Sands, in a follow up statement to Blank Slate Media, said, “As Sands seeks to invest $4 billion and employ thousands at the Nassau HUB, the company will likely apply for a sales tax exemption and other considerations from the Nassau IDA when that is permissible. This is consistent with past lease holders at the site. The end result will always be that Nassau County and the surrounding communities will receive significantly more with Sands than under the previous lease holders, who did not pay anything but rent.”
The IDA granted more than $4 million to developer Bruce Ratner in 2015 to conduct enhancements on the former home of the New York Islanders.
More than $3 million in sales tax exemptions were granted for purchasing construction materials and an additional $1.1 million for a mortgage-recording tax exemption.
The Nassau County Legislature approved a resolution for Las Vegas Sands to construct a $4 billion entertainment center last week.
The Legislature approved a 99-year lease agreement, something the IDA would have to approve if Sands moves forward with their plans to acquire tax breaks, according to county officials.
Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Robert Goldstein praised the work of Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and the Republican-controlled Legislature for their work in helping to arrange an entertainment destination in Nassau County.
“The approval granted today by the Nassau County Legislature is an important step in our company’s efforts to secure a New York gaming license and ultimately develop a world-class hospitality, entertainment and gaming destination,” Goldstein said in a statement.
The lease agreement, announced by Blakeman in late April, had already received approval from the Legislature’s Rules Committee earlier this month.
Sands Vice President Ron Reese also said the hotel would have at least 800 rooms and the live performance venue would have a 5,000-7,500 seat capacity.
Blakeman said the agreement includes a “workforce housing” component regardless of whether or not Sands obtains a gaming license, though there would not be a housing project or development.
When the casino opens, Blakeman said, Nassau is guaranteed $25 million in revenue with escalation costs. That figure increases to $50 million a year with escalation costs once the operation has been running for three years.
Blakeman said the result of the Legislature’s vote on the casino shows that the agreement between Nassau and Las Vegas Sands is one that will benefit the community.
“This is the first hurdle overcome to provide a world-class entertainment center with a luxury spa and hotel, creating thousands of jobs and economic prosperity for Nassau County. I am very pleased with the vote,” Blakeman said following the vote last week.
The county, Blakeman said, will receive $54 million from Sands, whether or not the project is constructed or not. Lease amendments made on Monday night include an additional $10 million for Uniondale and East Meadow and an extra $5 million from the Town of Hempstead.
The next steps for Sands include obtaining a gaming license from the state’s licensing board, receiving zoning approvals from the Town of Hempstead, backing from community groups and environmental impact studies.