Las Vegas Sands Inks Nassau Coliseum Lease

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Las Vegas Sands Inks Nassau Coliseum Lease
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Las Vegas Sands has agreed to lease the land needed for its Long Island megadevelopment, which could include a casino.

The company’s deal would give Sands control of the Nassau Coliseum property in Uniondale for the next 99 years, Newsday reported. The agreement is the first in a litany of steps that could bring full-scale gambling to Nassau County.

It’s the latest attempt to revive Nassau Coliseum, which struggled even before losing business to the new UBS Arena at Belmont Park. In 2019, the county selected Scott Rechler’s RXR as master developer of the coliseum and the land around it. The next year, Nick Mastroianni II took over as the coliseum’s leaseholder and set a course for a $1.5 billion “Nassau Hub” with housing, offices, retail, restaurants and entertainment.

Sands is taking over Mastroianni’s lease and nearly tripling the size of the planned development. RXR remains the master developer and will coordinate with Sands, but it is undetermined what financial role RXR will play, a spokesperson for the company said.

The lease calls for Sands to pay a one-time sum of $54 million to the county within 60 days, $5 million in annual rent, and, during the first year of operations, $900,000 for public safety.

If Sands eventually wins one of the three gaming licenses to be awarded by the state, the annual rent and the safety fee would double. The difference in revenue for the county would be stark: $96.3 million with a casino, but only $7.9 million without one.

Sands made its intentions clear at the beginning of the year when it entered into a preliminary agreement for the long-term lease. The company signaled it would spend up to $4 billion on the project and that it would move forward even if it doesn’t get a casino license.

Landing the license is far from a sure bet. Two of the three downstate licenses up for grabs are believed to be earmarked for the racinos at Aqueduct and Yonkers, which already have electronic gambling machines but not human dealers.

That leaves one license for a crowded field of competitors, including Related Companies, SL Green Realty, Thor Equities, Stefan Soloviev and Steve Cohen.

If the Nassau casino doesn’t come to fruition, Sands would still be obligated to build a luxury hotel, entertainment center and an undetermined housing component, according to county officials. Sands is also considering conference space, restaurants and a health club.

Its lease still needs approval from the Nassau planning commission, the rules and finance committees and the county legislature, which meets on May 22.