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Back To The Drawing Board For Redevelopment Around Nassau Coliseum

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Millions of public and private sector dollars have poured into the new Nassau Coliseum "hub."

But as CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, a new study released Tuesday says it must be redesigned to include housing.

When Uniondale student Keisha Brown leaves school, she says she'll have to leave Long Island.

"Every time you get a new lease it goes up, it's not affordable," she said. "It's really hard."

Affordable housing has many young people on the move, and according to the Long Island Index -- a non-partisan group of civic, academic, labor, and business leaders -- the chance to attract young workers, residents, and businesses is fading.

The report shows plans to transform the area around Nassau Coliseum into a biotech park are already outdated due to a lack of housing.

"The existing plan is nothing more than a 20th century office park," the report states.

"This is just a symbol of how Nassau County is not living up its potential," candidate for Nassau County Executive Laura Curran (D) said. "Here we have a newly renovated Coliseum in the middle of 77 acres of parking and really not much else is going on."

A cancer center will be included in the new development, but many had hoped for an outdoor plaza, pedestrian bridges, retail, restaurants, and entertainment would be in the works by now. Those have yet to break ground due to ongoing litigation.

Taxpayers are urging candidates for county executive push for a rapid bus transit system connecting Mineola LIRR riders with the hub, extending the JFK monorail even if the Islanders never return to the Coliseum.

"You need affordable housing, you need 21st century transportation, you need the business community and universities and research centers to all buy in," County Executive candidate George Maragos (D) said.

Most of the complex will be built with private sector funds, but can contracts be broken?

"We're open to the prospects of hopefully renegotiating and adding different dimensions if we can build a consensus for it," County Executive candidate Jack Martins (R) said.

Researchers say new innovative district hubs in St. Louis, Seattle, and Cambridge, Mass. are successful, relying on less entertainment and hospitality and more on office space and multi-family housing.

CBS2 reports Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment renovated the arena, and says it's working to ensure the potential for the site -- as identified by the Long Island Index -- is unlocked.

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