The New York Islanders have taken another significant step toward breaking ground on a new home.
New York's Empire State Development board approved the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Belmont Park facility, the Islanders announced Thursday.
Six members of the board voted unanimously in favor of the $1.3-billion arena and entertainment complex, according to Newsday's Candice Ferrette and Jim Baumbach.
It was the final stage of ESD approval required for the plan. The next step before groundbreaking can begin is for the Franchise Oversight board to rubber-stamp the state's environmental review. That's expected in a matter of weeks, according to Ferrette and Baumbach.
The Islanders' new home is expected to open in the fall of 2021 at a projected cost of $955 million. It would be the first major-league sports arena to be built on Long Island since Nassau Coliseum in 1972.
The club played regularly at the Coliseum until 2015 and essentially split its home games between that arena and Brooklyn's Barclays Center in 2018-19. The Islanders also played both of their first-round home playoff dates at their original barn this past spring.