The Empire State Development Corporation has approved plans to build a new 19,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders NHL ice hockey franchise at Belmont Park.

Newsday reported that the $1.3bn (£1.08bn/€1.16bn) development received the green light from all six of the ESDC’s board members following a meeting in Manhattan.

The proposed complex will fill 43 acres of state-owned property and is also slated to include a 250-room hotel, shops and restaurants. Last month, it was confirmed that a Long Island Rail Road train station will be based at the development.

The Franchise Oversight Board is set to approve an environmental review in the coming weeks, but some residents have voiced concerns about the potential noise levels from the arena since the project secured outline planning permission in December 2017.

However, many would welcome the return of the Islanders to Long Island, where most of the team’s core fan base is based.

The team currently splits its home games between Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

The project would be funded by the owners of the Islanders, with a projected opening in 2021.

“We are proud of the open, public process this project has gone through over the last two years, strengthened by the input and support of community members who made their voices heard and helped improve the plan, resulting in today’s positive outcome,” ESDC board chairman Howard Zemsky was quoted as saying.

Image: New York Islanders