NY Islanders: Murray Drops Bomb on Lighthouse

Frank Trovato@@voiceislanderfnCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2010

This may be the death blow to the Lighthouse project as envisioned by Charles Wang and Scott Rechler.

Charles Wang, owner of the New York Islanders and real estate magnate has yet to respond to the latest attack on his project.

Kate Murray, who is the Town of Hempsteads Supervisor, and top opponent to the project has unveiled her new zoning of the 77 acre site that will result in The Lighthouse project either being scaled back to something not even resembling the plans we have seen.

The square footage of buildings would be severely cut down.

The building heights would be limited to 9 stories, down from Wang's proposed 35 stories.

The amount of housing units that can be built from over 2,300 proposed by Wang to just over 500.

This is what took Kate Murray and her town cronies 5 years to come up with.

Charles Wang and Scott Rechler have spent more time and money on this project and sat around waiting for one bureaucrat and her silly Town Board to tell them yes or no.

Nassau County approved the plan. New York State is behind the plan. Long Islanders by a wide margin are behind the plan.

The Town of Hempstead? They seem to know better than all of us.

What they did is next to criminal. They said maybe. They said everything to keep Mr. Wang and his 3 billion dollars from walking away from the table.

So where does this leave the project?

In its current form and location it is dead and buried.

So what is next for the project? What is next for the New York Islanders franchise?

That is any ones guess but I can take a stab at it.

Charles Wang will not bow to the wishes of the Town of Hempstead. He did not make himself a billionaire by mistake and will not just lay down and take whatever the town imposes upon him.

There are other options. The best and most attractive one right now would be to get behind Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano's plan to bring in the Shinnecock Nation to build a mixed use project that could resemble most of Wang's current plan with one notable addition, a casino.

The Shinnecock Nation have land out east on Long Island that they can offer in trade for the rights to build on the 77 acres around Nassau Coliseum.

All Charles Wang would have to do is get in bed with them and Mangano add a casino to his plans and he would be back in business.

Why would this make a difference when it comes to the Town of Hempstead?

Because with the Shinnecock Nation Mangano, New York State, Charles Wang all would NOT need Town of Hempstead approval to build whatever they want on the site.
The key is the Shinnecock Nation. Being a recognized American Indian tribe if they were granted the land to build on by New York State they would be outside the Town of Hempstead's jurisdiction enabling a partnered Wang/Rechler/Mangano/Shinnecock organization the ability to build Wang's Lighthouse project.  

Lets not forget the project includes a brand new renovated home for the New York Islanders.

One thing people around Long Island are in agreement on is that Long Island needs a reason for people to stay here.

For some reason the town of Hempstead and Charles Wang have not met in the middle. Wang presented his project and, Kate Murray has presented her zoning plan and said this is it.

Something has to give in this long strange saga of The Lighthouse project.

What do you think is next? Leave your comments below.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.