BY LUIS GRONDA
There is still uncertainty over when proposals for a soccer stadium straddling the Queens border will be chosen.
A decision was originally announced to be made last summer by Empire State Development, but the Elmont, Long Island site has not been awarded yet, leaving developers wondering what the delay is.
Four development companies have submitted proposals for the site and are still waiting on the State to choose which one it will move forward with. An RFP for the site was released in 2012 and several groups responded before the deadline in January 2013. The New York Cosmos play in the recently-revived North America Soccer League, currently playing their home games at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island.
One of the proposals is from the College Point-based Mattone Group, who helped design that plan with the team itself.
Their proposal includes a 25,000-seat soccer stadium along with a restaurant row consisting of nine restaurants and nearly 250,000-square-feet of retail space. The plan also consists of a 175-room hotel and a brand new 4.3-acre public park for the community near the proposed stadium.
The three other proposals come from two Long Island-based companies, The Engel Burman Group and Blumenfeld Development Group, and a Manhattan-based company, Related Development.
The Blumenfeld plan would be anchored by a well-known retail store, like Target, and that would be surrounded by facilities for the community such as a park, a new health club and more.
Engel Burman’s plan would be for a 28-acre recreation center, which would include a supermarket, restaurants and a public soccer field.
Related is proposing new restaurants and stores to open up in the area to accompany the stadium.
Michael Mattone, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Mattone Group, said they understand that the State needs to go through its process, considering it has multiple proposals to consider.
“We’re trying to be patient,” he said. “We’re very eager to do something there.”
Brad Blumenthal, principal owner of the Blumenthal Group, said the situation has been quiet since they submitted their proposal for the site last year.
“It’s unusual that it’s been so quiet, especially for a public asset like this that is clearly underutilized,” he said.
When asked for an update on proposals submitted, ESD spokesperson Jason Conwall said, they are still looking at the applications related to the site.
“We are continuing to evaluate responses to the RFP and hope to announce a decision soon. We want to be thorough and comprehensive,” he said in an email.
The Elmont Chamber of Commerce, an organization made up of businesses in the area, does not have an opinion about the proposal, only saying that it is incomplete.
Muzzio Tallini, the president of the chamber, said that the plan does not include residential development for the younger demographic, which is needed in that area.
“The Chamber does feel that the Belmont RFP is fatally flawed in that the RFP excluded residential development as an option. This exclusion is inconsistent with Elmont’s Vision Plan. Moreover, the Chamber believes opening the Belmont LIRR train station full-time should be a goal of any redevelopment that takes place on the Belmont property,” he said in a statement.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.