Saturday, January 20, 2007

Barclays' present to Brooklyn's future?

That Barclays Center ad in the dailies yesterday deserves another look. Lumi Rolley of NoLandGrab already pointed out the obvious fallacy in the claim that Barclays would be "presenting" anything to Brooklyn.

But consider the caveat. The present is (technically not until 2009, but our excitement can hardly be contained). Indeed, given potential delays from lawsuits and other factors, 2009 might better be seen as a goal than as a given.

The image

Then consider the image (adapted from here). We see a full frontal of the Urban Room and Frank Gehry's Miss Brooklyn, with the tower at Site 5 (now home to P.C. Richard/Modell's) looming at right. The Urban Room is, notably, ad-free, though we can expect some striking, perhaps overwhelming, advertising.

On the left, a piece of the facade of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Terminal mall (without the Target and Chucke E. Cheese signage--see below), and a wedge of the Bank of New York Tower above it. In the center, the historic and restored (through already overwhelmed) Atlantic Avenue subway kiosk. And a whole bunch of traffic--perhaps a hint that critics' warnings might be worth a listen.

What's missing? The arena. Is that because it's such an innovative design, wrapped in four towers, and thus too tough to portray? Doubtful. Is it because the arena is less dramatic than Miss Brooklyn, from the outside? Who knows.

Is it because some of the buildings around the arena (including Miss Brooklyn) might be branded as part of the Barclays Center? Possibly.

The text

But for now, the ad copy is limited to the arena. We're promised A stage for both concerts and commerce. Arts and entertainment. AND DID WE MENTION THE BRAND NEW HOME OF THE NETS? Again, there's no mention of a "community" facility.

It also calls the Barclays Center the centerpiece of over 8 million square feet of development and 8 acres of open space.

Note that the arena would be the center only of the arena block, not the project itself. All the publicly accessible open space would be east of the arena block, to be built in Phase 2 of the project (scheduled completion 2016, but likely five or ten years longer), which depends on variables such as the success of the condos in Phase 1.

In other words, Brooklyn would be presented with the Barclays Center well before such claims could be fulfilled.

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