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Volume 24 No. 180


Rapper Jay-Z Friday night will play the first of "eight sold-out concerts in nine days" to open Barclays Center, the 675,000-square-foot arena in Brooklyn that "loosely resembles a spaceship with a rusty-looking facade," according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. Barclays Center developer and Nets Minority Owner Bruce Ratner said of the arena's opening, "It's a pinch-me moment like I can't believe. It was a long, difficult 10 years." Zillgitt notes the rusty look "is by design, using weathered steel on the outside of the building, a pre-emptive move aimed at slowing corrosion." Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said, "We wanted to be true to the brand, and it is. It's dark; it's gritty; it's bold. It very much spoke to Brooklyn." The venue will host a total of "about 220 events a year." There also are "101 luxury suites, but those are surpassed by 11 ultra-exclusive, high-end Jay-Z inspired suites called The Vault." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said, "It exceeded my expectations, which were already high. I love the fact that it's designed as a basketball-centric arena. There's an elegance to the building, yet it has very much an urban feel as if it belongs in Brooklyn" (USA TODAY, 9/28). USA TODAY's Scott Gleeson notes Barclays Center staffers "made it a priority to cater to the next-generation fan." The arena features "high-tech amenities that include Cisco's 'Connection Stadium' free Wi-Fi for consistent and reliable connectivity, with 275 access points to support a packed house." The addition of "reliable in-house Wi-Fi is expected to free cellular networks for more reliable phone calls and text messages." The arena also will have a "custom phone app that will provide a variety of content." Cisco's "Stadium Vision" will "power 700 HDTVs showing replays and about 100 concession menu boards" (USA TODAY, 9/28).

NEW MUSIC SCENE: In N.Y., James McKinley Jr. writes the performance space at Barclays Center "will fundamentally transform the music scene in New York City." The arena's opening "is being closely watched in the music business, and perhaps nowhere more so than in Manhattan, at Madison Square Garden, which for generations has been the only game in town for arena acts and has earned a reputation as a career-defining concert hall." Concert promoters and booking agents said that such competition "is inevitable, and Barclays has already positioned itself as an alternative, booking several marquee performers who have played the Garden in the past." Playing host to three professional sports teams and St. John's Univ. basketball, MSG's calendar "has long been extremely crowded," and it has become "even tighter over the last two years as it has undergone renovations." AEG Live President & CEO Randy Phillips said, "I consider it a godsend Barclays arena is there. Prior to this we were really kind of held hostage on a tour to the availability of Madison Square Garden" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/28).

DOING BIG BUSINESS: In N.Y., Rich Calder writes the "much-hyped opening" of Barclays Center is "opening the floodgates to a slew of new high-end eateries, sports bars, apartment towers and retail shops." More than "a dozen other new eateries are also in the works within three square blocks of the arena" (N.Y. POST, 9/28).

The Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority have jointly selected HKS to design the team’s new $975M stadium, according to Vikings VP/Public Affiars & Stadium Development Lester Bagley. The two groups announced the decision at the authority’s meeting Friday morning. Dallas-based HKS was the architect for both Cowboys Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium. In the Twin Cities, the firm’s creativity, expertise and “great work” on the two NFL facilities were determining factors in its selection, Bagley said. “This is one of the most important decisions we will make in the whole process,” he said. HKS won the job over HNTB, Populous, AECOM and EwingCole. The selection of HKS was not a total surprise to industry insiders, considering Populous designed new stadiums for the Twins and the Univ. of Minnesota over the past five to seven years. HKS previously consulted on a Vikings stadium project. HKS in '09 completed the “Metrodome Next” study for the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the dome’s owner. The $954M project died in legislative session the following year. HKS will spend the next six to nine months in design and should have complete images to share publicly by February, said Mark Williams, a principal at the firm. HKS will have 15 architects working on the project from its Dallas office, led by design principal Bryan Trubey, John Hutchings, principal-in-charge and project manager Kevin Taylor. Williams will be be involved in facilities programming and design.

RETRACTABLE FEATURE COMING: The new stadium, to be built on the site of the Metrodome, will include a retractable feature. The Vikings have been discussing internally the possibility of the stadium including a retractable roof or movable walls in the end zones, but to this point no decision has been made. HKS designed both elements at Cowboys Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium. Construction is expected to begin in late '13 with the stadium set to open for the '16 season. The Vikings and the authority will soon being the process of selecting a general contractor. Mortenson, a Twin Cities firm, is considered the front-runner after building both Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium.

New Balance may “build an outdoor track atop its new corporate home, a rectangular structure that’s part of a $500 million real estate development on 14 acres” in Brighton, Mass., according to Greg Turner of the BOSTON HERALD. The rooftop track “would be for employee use only,” and the employee “perk would be in addition to the 200-meter, hydraulic-banked track inside a large sports center that New Balance would build on Guest Street and make available for public use.” New Balance Real Estate Dir Ty Hanlan said the sports facility would have a “full floor devoted to track and field events, where we will be able to host NCAA events -- even Olympic trials,” with seating for 4,000 spectators. The building also would have “a 1,000-seat hockey rink, health club-related space and medical offices.” New Balance is “on track to start construction next spring and fully build out the 14-acre development by 2017” (BOSTON HERALD, 9/28).