Thursday, May 14, 2009

Construction delay kills 2011 arena opening, puts even 2012 in doubt

Let's be clear about the meaning of Forest City Enterprises' quiet acknowledgment that no "vertical development"--including, implicitly, the Atlantic Yards arena--will occur this year.

[Update 10:25 am: a reader asks if no new development "in the near term" could still encompass starting construction this year? That's not ruled out, but if they were confident they could start this year, they would've said so.]

If arena construction doesn't begin until 2010, there's no way the arena could open by 2011, which has been the most recent official opening date (though there's been some hedging).

It's even questionable that the arena could open in 2012. Sure, a 24-month arena construction schedule would allow a 2012 opening, but the Atlantic Yards arena--at least in its earlier incarnation--was supposed to take 30 or 32 months.

[Update 2:55 pm: See comment that construction this year shouldn't be ruled out. Even if so, I'd bet that 2011 is still not tenable.]

2 comments:

  1. It was my impression that barclays center would take an extra 6 months to build ... most arenas take 24 months to construct ... due to the need for a platform over the railyards.

    I read that the platform would take 6 months to build, with the arena then constructed on top of the platform.

    Gehry's high-priced bells & whistles (since canceled by ratner) also extended the construction timeline, but i'm not sure by how much.

    So if i'm correct in my assumptions, even a scaled-down arena would still take at least 30 months to construct.

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  2. I'm not convinced that "no new vertical development" refers to starting construction on pointless white elephants, so much as initiating new white elephants and the land purchases, buying of community groups and so forth that such new development entails. Remember, this was a comment for the analyst community, and mostly referred to the likelihood of unexpected cash outlays in the near term. Since, as I understand it, starting work on the arena will not require a cash contribution from FCE, only the raising of debt for the arena, his comment might still be true. Indeed, if I understand FCE's business model, financial close on the arena might even result in the payment might even result in the payment of a developer fee to FCE.

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