Posted on: October 27, 2023, 01:31h.
Last updated on: October 27, 2023, 01:59h.
Las Vegas Sands paid a premium to acquire the 72-acre Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site on New York’s Long Island where the company hopes to build a $5 billion integrated resort.
Through a securities filing made earlier this month, Sands confirmed it paid an aggregate amount of $241 million in early June to acquire the leasing rights to the Coliseum and its surrounding grounds.
The expense included a $92 million “goodwill” payment to Nassau Live Center, LLC, the entity that has since 2020 been trying to build a mixed-use development on the Coliseum property. The remaining $149 million paid to Nassau Live granted Sands the lease rights and ownership of the LLC’s related entities.
The Nassau Coliseum was the home of the NHL New York Long Islanders hockey team until the franchise moved to UBS Arena in Belmont Park at the start of the 2021-22 season. Nassau County, which owns the stadium that opened in 1972 and its surrounding parking lots, has since been trying to have the property redeveloped.
Nassau Live Center, LLC, is owned by Florida real estate developer Nicholas Mastroianni II. Mastroianni acquired the redevelopment rights from Nassau County in August 2020 for a proposed $1.5 billion development in partnership with local real estate firm RXR Realty.
Mastroianni and RXR, however, struggled to bring their vision to reality.
Sands Bets Big
Sands is among roughly a dozen casino companies prepping bids to acquire one of the three downstate casino licenses the New York Gaming Facility Location Board is expected to issue next year. Sands, which no longer has domestic casinos after selling Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania in 2019 and its two Las Vegas Strip properties, The Venetian and Palazzo in early 2022, is heavily focused on the Empire State.
There is no guarantee that Sands’ Long Island casino pitch will win one of the three downstate gaming licenses. But what is guaranteed is that Sands will be on the hook for annual lease payments for the Coliseum property.
Sands paid Nassau County a one-time “rent payment” of $54 million in taking over the Nassau Coliseum lease. The company will pay another $1 million to the county for the period ending Dec. 31, 2023.
Sands will then pay the county $6 million each year through 2027. The lease then jumps to about $18.8 million annually for each of the remaining 94 lease years for a total consideration of approximately $1.77 billion.
All-In on New York
Sands remains one of the world’s richest gaming companies in terms of market capitalization because of its market dominance in China’s Macau and its Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Sands executives say the company is eager to get back in business in the US, and New York is currently the most attractive market.
Sands CEO Robert Goldstein during the company’s 2023 third quarter call this month called New York “an extraordinary opportunity” with “unlimited appeal.”
In Sands’ securities filing announcing its Nassau Coliseum expenses, the company acknowledges there’s no certainty that the $2 billion the company has already committed to its New York undertaking will pay off for investors.
“We purchased the Nassau Coliseum with the intent to obtain a casino license from the State of New York to develop and operate an Integrated Resort. There is no assurance we will be able to obtain such casino license,” the filing read.