Thursday, June 04, 2009

NYT: Gehry, as predicted, is gone from the Brooklyn arena; it will look like Indianapolis or "airplane hangar"

As many of us have suspected, Forest City Ratner has dropped plans for Frank Gehry's Brooklyn arena (right) and instead has traded it for a design by Kansas City-based firm Ellerbe Becket.

A New York Times article (to be published in print tomorrow) headlined Developer Drops Gehry Design for Brooklyn Arena, puts the estimated cost of the Gehry arena at $1 billion (I thought it was $950 million) and the replacement at $800 million--still by far the most expensive arena in the country.

For months, CEO Bruce Ratner has denied statements by Gehry expressing doubt about the project. Three weeks ago, Ratner said he'd decide in 60 days whether to keep Gehry's design.

Looks like Indianapolis

The Times reports:
The new design comes from Ellerbe Becket, an architectural firm based in Kansas City, Mo., that specializes in convention centers, stadiums and arenas, and designed Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis [right], where the Indiana Pacers play. Officials who have seen the design for the Brooklyn arena say that while it resembles Conseco Fieldhouse, it also bears a likeness to an “airplane hangar.”

Unclear is how four towers, as originally planned, would be wrapped around such a barnlike building. Clearly, the arena is the developer's priority.

Timetable: 2011?

The Times reports that Ratner hopes to start construction by the end of the year in order to get tax-exempt financing:
Officially, the developer says the arena is supposed to be ready in 2011 as the new home for the Nets, who will move to Brooklyn from the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Officially, however, the Times should ask how long it takes to build an arena. The answer: at least two years. That means there's no way the arena could open in 2011.

Gehry: master planner?

The Times provides Ratner's official explanation:
Mr. Gehry is still the master planner for the 22-acre development, which is at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.

Master planner? There's not much left to master-plan.

The Times still hasn't reported on the revelations at the hearing last Friday.

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