The New York Islanders announced on March 27th that construction of their new arena at Belmont Park, scheduled to open for the 2021-2022 season, had been suspended, indefinitely. New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced earlier in the day that all “non-essential construction work would be stopped,” with focus shifting to building four new hospitals in the New York City area, to be prioritized instead.
The Islanders released a statement regarding the construction status of Belmont Park Arena, which was supposed to be ready in time for the 2021-22 NHL season.
“We support Governor Cuomo’s efforts to eliminate the COVID-19 virus. He has been the driving force behind the construction of Belmont Park Arena,” Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said in the statement. “The progress that has been made since the groundbreaking is truly incredible and is a credit to all of the construction workers that have been there every day. Those workers are all a part of our community and we want them safe and healthy.”
However, the story is different in Seattle, Washington, as construction for the new Seattle Center continues. The arena is scheduled to be ready for opening night for the Seattle NHL expansion team in the fall of 2021.
There has been a shutdown of residential construction in Washington State, but essential construction continues at the Seattle Center arena set to host an expansion NHL hockey team for the 2021-2022 season.
The Seattle NHL organization released a statement on March 26th, announcing that construction would continue at Seattle Center:
“Following Gov. Inslee’s additional guidance regarding the impact of his March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy’” proclamation as it relates to construction, and, following conversations with Mayor Durkan’s office, work will continue on the New Arena at Seattle Center construction site. The general contractor, Mortenson, has been diligent in implementing CDC-recommended health and safety procedures to date and will suspend work on-site Thursday and Friday to take additional measures. The measures include a full clean of the site, future work planning and the creation of an additional site entrance. Work will resume on Monday, March 30. At the construction site of our team headquarters and community facility, Northgate Ice Centre, BN Builders and all project partners have stood down from construction activity in line with Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation. We thank the project leadership team and all of the craft workers on site for their dedication during this unprecedented time. We look forward to resuming work when advised to do so. Team members will continue to work on project-related planning from remote locations.”
According to Arena Digest, the big reason why work is going on: Oak View Group and Mortenson are at a crucial time in the construction schedule, one where it would have been hard to postpone. This is an unusual project, to say the least, and the reason not to shut down the construction has to do with the very nature of Seattle Center.
By Jon Sorensen