West Group Law Attorneys’ Groundbreaking Model in P3 Project

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, commonly referred to as “The Coliseum,” is located in the Town of Hempstead on Long Island in Nassau County, New York. The approximately 77-acre multi-purpose, publicly-owned sports and entertainment facility opened in 1972 and has since been home for the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders. Over its 41-year history, the Coliseum was also the host facility to other amateur and professional sports teams like the National Basketball Association’s New York Nets and the National Lacrosse League’s New York Saints. In addition, the iconic facility became one of the most prominent U.S. concert venues for popular musicians and entertainers. Pop culture artists like Elvis, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, the Spice Girls and Billy Joel have performed before sell-out crowds in the massive facility with its once distinct character and New York aura of excitement. For four decades, this important Nassau County asset welcomed millions of people from around the world, bringing acclaim to Long Islanders and putting money into the local economy. In its heyday, and with a rich history of attracting a global audience of sports enthusiasts and concert-goers and its close proximity to New York City: “the cultural capital of the world”, the Coliseum offered Nassau County a prominent ‘sense of place’ that was enjoyed by visitors and local families and friends. However, after decades of little or no maintenance due to the lack of public funds, the Coliseum felt the wear and tear of thousands of sporting events and concerts, performances and ceremonies. From around the mid- 1990s and for the next 10 years, county officials attempted to keep up with maintaining the slowly dilapidating facility with piecemeal renovations and repairs. By 2009, after years of stress and strain on the facility, scarce public funds to pay for necessary maintenance, a weary community of overburdened taxpayers, and threats by the New York Islanders’ owner Charles Wang to leave Long Island due to the Coliseum’s deteriorating condition, public officials and business leaders escalated their ‘call to action’ to local residents, asking them to fund a new arena by passing a public bond issue.

Long Island voters defeated a $400 million referendum to replace the Coliseum. One year later, with West Group Law attorneys at the helm, a new path for the rehabilitation and future of the Coliseum and surrounding area, known as the Nassau Hub, was put into action. West Group Law attorneys’ work would be groundbreaking in negotiating public-private partnerships and would serve as a blue print for future public-use site development at no expense to taxpayers.

West Group Law attorneys advised, guided and led the massive, multi-million dollar project for Nassau County from start to finish. Among the tasks performed included drafting the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and Request for Proposals (RFP) – “Redevelopment of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Site” – and facilitated the procurement process. After obtaining advice from the County Executive’s Business Advisory Council, West Group Law attorneys and members of the County RFP Evaluation Committee, recommended two final proposals out of four submitted by private companies to compete against each other for the development rights. The selection of the two final proposals set the stage for West Group Law attorneys to begin negotiating competitive lease agreements between the award winner and its competitor. Working expeditiously to meet challenging deadlines set by the County, the West Group Law attorneys’ approach to close a deal that would meet the County’s goal and deliver the highest value to residents was to simultaneously negotiate and leverage one proposal against the other. The negotiation model was unique to public-private partnerships, as typically, public-private partnership deals are not fully negotiated prior to the selection of the private company companion to the public entity. West Group Law attorneys worked non-stop negotiating the terms of what would become the final preferred lease with the award winner, and guided the County throughout the process, helping to shepherd the proposal through each phase over a short six month period.