First Arena update – IDA responds to potential negotiation meeting with CAN-USA


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The deadline for the next potential contracted tenant of First Arena is coming fast.

Current tenant of First Arena, CAN-USA under the Robbie Nichols ownership group, will see their deal with owners, the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, expire on July 15. Nichols tells 18 Sports that he would the love the option of renewing for next year but has yet to meet with The IDA or IDA director, Joe Roman.

On Tuesday, 18 Sports had to the opportunity to speak with Roman via phone and asked why no meeting has been scheduled yet between the two parties. Last Friday, 18 Sports produced a lengthy report on the deal between CAN-USA and the Chemung County IDA. A full link to Friday’s report detailing the original deal created in 2018 can be found here:

The story generated great interest in the community and there has even been the creation of an online petition to keep CAN-USA and the Nichols family as the tenants of the venue at

Nichols and CAN-USA have been trying to meet with the Chemung County IDA and/or Roman for two years to discuss the deal. Roman tells 18 Sports that the lack of an in-person meeting with CAN-USA is nothing personal. In fact, it has everything to do with collecting all of the appropriate financial information needed to negotiate. Roman then went on to state The IDA would be open to meet with Nichols and CAN-USA in the future.

“Certainly happy to meet with Robbie,” Roman said. “But, we want to have a productive meeting. And, we want to have all of the information in front of us as to when we do that,” added Roman.

The IDA has stated that they are keeping all options on the table for a future tenant. Friday’s report on WETM-TV Sports discussed the potential of Elmira College becoming a new tenant, conversations that were confirmed by Roman at a special IDA presentation to the Chemung County Legislature in April.

The July 15th deadline is looming and both parties have yet to negotiate in-person. With only nine days to go, the future of First Arena is indeed undecided and full of anxiety for hockey, sports and entertainment fans in the region. Stick with 18 Sports for more on this developing situation.

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