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Islanders: Sterling Equities Haven’t Paid Up for Belmont Arena Yet

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 02: New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon takes in batting practice before the game between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on July 2, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 02: New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon takes in batting practice before the game between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on July 2, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Construction on the Islanders arena at Belmont Park is already well underway, but it seems that one of the project’s key partners hasn’t paid up yet.

According to a report by Forbes’ Mike Ozanian, Sterling Equities hasn’t put in any money for its share for the Islanders new arena at Belmont Park. Sterling Equities Chairman is Fred Wilpon and it’s President is Saul Kratz. If you’re a New York Mets fan you know who these two are.

I’m new to baseball. I’m also not a Mets fan. My introduction to the Wilpons has been all second-hand. But everything I’ve heard isn’t any good. Anything I’ve read on the Wilpons since Ozanian’s piece hasn’t shed a positive light either.

What Now?

Construction is well underway on the Islanders new arena. We’ve all tuned into the Belmont live cam at one point or another to see how it’s all coming together. The arena is already starting to take shape based on the last view of the construction site.

Ozanian says not having all the financing in place for a project isn’t normal. The Belmont arena, as well as the retail village and hotel that are also part of the project, is expected to cost around $1.26 billion to build. Some $800 million of that will be debt.

The project is being financed by the Wilpon’s Sterling Equity and the Oak View Group. The Oak View Group was founded by Tim Leiweke – former President and CEO of MLSE which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs –  and Irving Azoff.

The Oak View Group is not only a key partner for the Islanders arena at Belmont Park but it is also redeveloping the KeyArena in Seattle for the NHL’s future 32nd team.

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If Sterling Equities doesn’t provide its share of the financing it’s hard to see where that money is going to come from, as Ozanian suggests. Oak View is already stretched pretty thin as are the owners of the Islanders Scott Malkin and John Ledecky.

Who knows why Sterling Equity hasn’t yet put forward its share of the financing. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding or something else that won’t negatively impact the projects. Maybe there’s an agreement in place that the money will come at a later date? I’m trying to be positive here. Hopefully, this is all much ado about nothing.

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