SBD/July 19, 2011/Facilities

Barclays Center On Schedule, But Rest Of Atlantic Yards Is Not

Barclays Center is only Atlantic Yards venue with scheduled completion date

Barclays Center is set to open next September "after eight years of delays," but the Brooklyn arena is the only building part of Atlantic Yards "with a definite debut date," according to Liz Robbins of the N.Y. TIMES. Barclays Center is the "first building out of 17" planned for Atlantic Yards. The development is "suffering from a lack of financing," and the "fights that have surrounded the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project from the beginning are far from over, with the rising colossus (and what is yet unseen) giving opponents fresh reason to complain." The arena's construction "spills over onto the main thoroughfares of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, snarling traffic and sending rats scurrying onto sidewalks." At least one Brooklyn bar "has received a liquor license in anticipation of the arena’s opening, and neighbors are already fearing the late-night noise and clientele" on nights when the Nets play. Forest City Ratner Chair & CEO Bruce Ratner said, "Forest City will get the project done one way or another." But already, the design for Barclays Center "is smaller and simpler than the Frank Gehry design that was scrapped because of the cost." The arena "no longer has room" for an NHL team. Robbins notes an office tower "planned for the area in front of the arena is on indefinite delay, because the company has been unable to secure a lead tenant." Nonetheless, Nets CEO Brett Yormark "has been aggressively selling sponsorships, suites and 4,400 premium season-ticket packages, while booking nonbasketball events like the Moscow Circus" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/19).

BROOKLYN BROOKLYN, TAKE ME IN: Yormark indicated that Barclays Center is "having no trouble meeting its preliminary goals," despite competition from nearby arenas like Prudential Center and MSG. The arena "has 163 events booked for the first year, including 44 Nets games," and Yormark said that he "aims to have more than 220 events in total." Yormark contends that "sales of the 4,400 premium season tickets, which top out at $1,500 a game, have 'exceeded' expectations." He noted that 41% of the "all-access tickets have gone to residents and businesses" in Brooklyn. Yormark: "Both in tickets sales and dollars, Brooklyn is voting yes" (CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS, 7/18 issue).

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