Back in September, CISLeads reported with some optimism that the forthcoming Belmont Arena, the soon-to-be new home of the Islanders hockey team, would bring business and sports back to the area. Along with plans for a 19,000-person capacity arena, a 250-room hotel, and 350,000 square feet of retail space, the project itself was projected to create 3,500 jobs.
Breaking ground a month later, the project has seen at least two lawsuits in the hopes of halting construction, first in the area of the planned hotel, and now more recently from the citizens of nearby Floral Park. Previous suits claimed that environmental impact reports filed for the project failed to take into account noise and traffic for nearby residents.
What Were the Details of the Restraining Order, and What Happened?
In October, sources revealed that the citizens of Floral Park filed for a temporary restraining order for certain aspects of Belmont Arena construction with the potential to halt or severely delay completing parts of the project on schedule.
Their suit hoped to bar developers from doing the following:
- Constructing underground walls on-site or “sheet pile driving.”
- Stop using the east part of the north lot in Belmont Park for staging construction and other project-related equipment and vehicles.
- Stop using Plainfield Avenue (in Floral Park) for moving construction vehicles.
Attorneys for the village argued that the above issues have led to a number of adverse impacts on the local environment for citizens, including upsets to traffic and noise pollution from constant work. They believe the environmental impact report skipped over key hurdles and ignored these potential outcomes.
Project overseers, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), state that their environmental impact study took place over a period of two years and insist that it was more than thorough enough. A state Supreme Court justice ruled to agree with ESDC in early November, denying the restraining order. Judge Roy Mahon ruled that local construction was not proven to be causing “irreparable harm” as their suit is quoted to have alleged.
Belmont Arena – The Progress So Far
To the relief of developers and contractors on the project, no halting, even a temporary one, appears to be in the cards. Sterling Project Development’s managing partner Richard Browne stated in court papers that had the judge not ruled as he had, even a small delay would have prevented construction from finishing in time for the Islanders 2021-22 season. “Every day counts,” he said.
As of right now, Belmont Arena’s development has been running on a tight schedule. Just two months since the official groundbreaking on September 23rd, most official news since then has involved season ticket holders and locals celebrating the event.
As of the writing of this article, live cam footage of the site shows a vast area teeming with construction vehicles and a landscape swiftly changing in preparation for the complexes that will rise in the next couple of years.
The project continues ever-on, and with enthusiasm from Islanders fans cheering contractors on and an eye constantly on their efforts, curious onlookers can watch the planned arena unfold in real-time, with no scheduled delays in sight.