Almost $2 million in rent on the Nassau Coliseum hasn’t been paid since January. Its billionaire leaseholder has asked local government officials for rent forbearance, Nassau County officials tell Sportico.
Former Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail D. Prokhorov and his Onexim Sports and Entertainment, which holds the lease on the Coliseum, paid rent through January but since then have only forwarded some entertainment tax proceeds to the county. Based on the lease agreement and payment information for 2019, the Russian billionaire is likely $1.88 million behind in rent. The county received $6.32 million in rent, entertainment taxes and utility payments for the Coliseum in 2019, according to the county Comptroller’s office.
County officials say they are working on an agreement to support Onexim’s forbearance request. Earlier in June, Prokhorov shuttered the venue and began looking for buyers to take over the lease and the roughly $100 million in associated debt.
Owned by Nassau County, the arena is formerly the long-time home of the New York Islanders hockey team and the largest indoor venue on Long Island. Prokhorov became sole owner of the lease in 2018. Since the 2018–19 NHL season, the Islanders have been splitting their home games between the Coliseum and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In February, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the team would play all of its games in the ’20–21 season back in its old home. Eventually, the Islanders will move into a new venue being built in Elmont, New York.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to arenas across the country, and our Coliseum is no exception, without hockey to anchor the venue,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran in an email. “Nassau County is encouraged that Onexim is speaking to their lenders and other potential investors, and we remain focused on development plans with RXR Realty, a strong and committed partner on this project.”
RXR is leading an effort to develop the surrounding acreage of the Coliseum into a biotech business hub. Requests for comment to Onexim and RXR were not returned.