Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Wilpon talks of arena next to Citi Field
NEW YORK -- New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon has talked to New York Islanders owner Charles Wang about building an arena for the NHL team near Citi Field.
"We've had discussions with the Islanders -- in addition to those we've had with Major League Soccer -- about building a sports/entertainment facility near Citi Field," the Mets said in a statement Wednesday.
Wilpon told Newsday for its Wednesday editions that he spoke to Wang about trying to develop something "synergistic with Citi Field and a hockey arena."
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said he had yet to speak with the Mets' owners, but was open to the possibility.
"I don't know whether it's the owner or the team using us as a negotiating ploy out on Long Island," the mayor said at a news conference Wednesday. "I'd love to have more teams move here. That'd be great."
Wilpon said it's also possible he could buy the Islanders, according to Newsday.
A spokeswoman for Wang did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Islanders have been trying to get local government to approve a development plan that would give the team a new arena to replace Nassau Coliseum. Wang has become frustrated by lack of action on his proposal and said last fall that he would explore all options -- including relocation.
The team played a preseason game last year in Kansas City, which is seeking an NHL team for a new arena that was built there.
"What I want to do is keep the team here," Wang said in October. "Long Island needs the Islanders. It's crazy what's going on, the gamesmanship. Now you've really got to decide, yes or no. If it's no, it's OK. Say it then.
"It's not what I want, but it isn't like people are giving me great choices."
The Mets moved into Citi Field last year after spending 45 seasons at Shea Stadium. The ballpark is located in the New York City borough of Queens, about 20 miles (a 30-minute drive) from where the Islanders play home games on Long Island, outside the city.