We know that the New York Islanders are one of two bidders left for Belmont. And we know that one dropped out due to perceived favoritism. And according to one report, that favor is rumored to have fallen to the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders are so dialed in to their bid for Belmont Park that they won’t even consider the possibility they don’t get it. They have no plan B (at least they aren’t saying they have one) and are completely unwavering in that sentiment.
Going all in without a back-up sounds a bit careless, and lacking in the due diligence department. But it’s the type of commitment we’ve always wanted from ownership.
And according to a report from Mark Berner of Horse Race Insider, the New York Islanders might not need to worry about a plan B. Because plan A is rumored to go through.
"Empire State Development, New York State’s business development agency, has moved quickly and is ever closer to a decision that will award the bid of the New York Islanders hockey team and its consortium to build a new arena at Belmont Park."
A Rumor Has Begun
Now, take this report with a grain of salt, Berner doesn’t indicate that he’s getting this from any single source. This could simply be pure speculation. And based on the crux of the article the speculation on a winner already being decided is timelines with bringing in an environmental agency before the project winner has been announced and the speed at which a second community consultation/listening session was scheduled.
Berner indicates that the state has already brought in an environmental assessment agency AKRF (Allee, King, Rosen & Fleming) to review both the redevelopment of the track and the Belmont RFP process.
I reached out to AKRF to comment on their collaboration with Belmont in relation to the track as well as the RFP winner and they were unable to provide a comment at the time on the matter.
We were contacted by someone who works at the tracks who corroborated Berner’s claim and indicating that this rumor is in fact true.
Still Just A Rumor
There’s nothing to suggest that this is anything but a rumor. Even if AKRF are being brought in early to look at the RFP lot while already looking at the track. Assuming that’s true, it could just as easily be that the state is trying to push the project forward quickly, and not that they have a particular bidder in mind.
The quick scheduling could further affirm that the state is looking to get this project going as soon as possible. Remember that they already spent four years with the NY Cosmos trying and being unsuccessful in developing the land.
The leaked pictures of the arena and potential development of the land with shops, parking and said arena could and probably is just what the New York Islanders submitted as part of their RFP submission and what they intend to present to the community on Sunday (all details for the listening session can be found here).
I want nothing more than this rumor to be true. I want the New York Islanders to play at Belmont. I want a new state of the art arena that can allow the Isles to spend to the cap. But at the moment I still see it as a fair and open competition between the New York Islanders and NYCFC.