HEMPSTEAD - The transformation of the Nassau Coliseum began Thursday morning.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the venue, with developers and politicians taking sledgehammers to the old ticket office.

County Executive Ed Mangano promised a new and exciting future of entertainment at the new Coliseum entertainment complex.

The cost of the renewal is $260 million.  It is set to reopen in the winter of 2016.

As News 12 reported, Nassau County signed a 25-year lease deal with developer Bruce Ratner to renovate the 43-year-old Coliseum.

However, not everyone was happy with the new development.

Uniondale jobs activist Dave Hanson gathered 3,000 signatures from minority community workers in and around the Coliseum. He's demanding jobs for minorities.  "We want to make sure that everyone is benefitting from the Nassau Coliseum," says Hanson.  

County Democrats are also concerned that the Ratner organization sold an 85 percent stake in the project to Russian billionaire Nikolai Prokhorov, who owns the Brooklyn Nets.

Mangano told News 12 that foreign investment is healthy for Long Island. He said Ratner will continue to manage the Coliseum and Nassau taxpayers will continue to own it.

"It doesn't change any obligations to our great county," said Mangano. "Bruce Ratner is contractually obligated to remain on for five years, so this project is going to move forward."

Mangano said the Ratner group has promised six Islanders games and at least one Nets basketball game at the Coliseum once construction is finished.