Thursday, May 15, 2008

Barclays Center to open December 31, 2010?

Nets CEO Brett Yormark said in Sports Business Journal this week that the Barclays Center would open in time for the 2010-11 basketball season, meaning October. But today's Forest City Ratner press release about the sale of luxury suites suggests that Yormark and the developer are further hedging their bets.

The statement:
“The opening of the Barclays Center Showroom is another significant step towards bringing a world-class arena and major sports team to Brooklyn,” said Brett Yormark, president and CEO of Nets Sports and Entertainment. “The Showroom will be a snapshot for what suite and premium season ticket holders can expect to experience at the Barclays Center when it opens in calendar year 2010."
(Emphasis added)

So if Forest City Ratner wants to conform to the letter--if not the spirit--of its pledge, it will have to open the building once in 2010. I'm predicting New Year's Eve.

(WNYC reported that The Nets are guaranteeing that the arena will open in the fall of 2010. I couldn't find any guarantee on the project web site.)

A tight timetable

A 2010 opening is unlikely, and representatives of the Nets and the developer have consistently changed their stories. (Note the weasel word "anticipate" in describing the expected opening date.)

As I've pointed out, it's supposed to take three years to reconstruct the Carlton Avenue and Sixth Avenue bridges, which means a likely best-case scenario is January 2011, assuming lawsuits are dismissed.

The Carlton Avenue bridge closed January 23 and is supposed to take two years to reconstruct. The Sixth Avenue bridge is supposed to take a year. They can't be closed simultaneously.

Could the arena open with the latter, adjacent to the arena block, still under reconstruction? Empire State Development Corporation spokesman A.J. Carter told me last November, "Forest City Ratner tells us that while the arena might be able to open without the bridge in operation, the goal is to have the bridge open in coordination with the arena's opening."

But the arena could surely open once, on a day with less traffic.

More pledges

The Barclays Center, according to the official web site, is Planned to open in downtown Brooklyn for the 2010 calendar year.

Alternatively, the site says, The Nets plan to tip-off their 2010 calendar year in their new home in Brooklyn – the Barclays Center.

It also states, The Nets anticipate that the Barclays Center will be completed in 2010.

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