Friday, July 31, 2009

On the radio, Nets' Yormark continues to spin about housing, litigation, arena timing, and arena renderings

In an interview on ESPN Radio's Seth Everett Show, as No Land Grab puts it, "Newark Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi and New Jersey Nets' CEO Brett Yormark give the reality and fantasy on the state of the Nets in back-to-back interviews."

NLG suggests:
The award for best delusional Yormark line? A tie between "we're having one of the best off-seasons that we've had in years" and "I think the world of Nets basketball right now couldn't be better."

Affordable housing

Well, there are other contenders. Yormark perhaps shouldn't be expected to know the nuts and bolts of Atlantic Yards details, but, if so, the uber-salesman shouldn't be so confident as he spews inaccuracies.

"First and foremost, the driver for the project, in many respects, has been job creation and affordable housing," Yormark said. "Those two key components Bruce Ratner has never wavered on. As recently as a month ago, he reiterated, when he started the project there were 6400 units, half of would be affordable... and there would be 6400 when the project was completed, affordable and market-rate rentals."

Actually, there were supposed to be only 4500 units total at the beginning; three of the four office towers around the arena were converted to housing. Half of those unit were supposed to be affordable. The developer later added 1930 market-rate condos.

The renderings

Yormark disavowed the renderings of the Ellerbe Becket-designed arena: "I hate to use the word leaked. They were inappropriate renderings, not approved by us.... 30-45 days, you'll see some great architecture."

As noted, even if they were leaked at first, they later appeared as illustrations in the Empire State Development Corporation's revised documents.

State of the Nets

"Our fans have never wavered," Yormark asserted. "They stay committed. We're having one of the best off-seasons that we've had in years. I think the world of Nets basketball right now couldn't be better.

OK, but From NetsDaily summarized the situation:
A consensus seems to be emerging about the Nets among pundits: They’re going to be awful, maybe God awful, next season, but with a lot of good young players, they’re moving in the right direction.

Arena timing

As for the timing of the project, Yormark said, "We are very confident, as we've stated earlier, that we will break ground this fall. We plan on being in Brooklyn for the 2011-12 season. We are committed to that, and we feel very, very good about it."

"We'll be ready to break ground this fall, it's a two-year build, and we'll be in Brooklyn for the '11-'12 season," he added. "We've shown great perseverence, we're committed, and we'll get there.

Well, the Empire State Development Corporation, more circumspect, has predicted construction by end of the year, not by fall.

Yormark did confirm, as others have suggested, that the arena could be built in two years; the earlier design by Frank Gehry was to take at least two-and-a-half years.

Yormark is known for dubious statements and ever-changing predictions regarding the arena opening date.

As for whether the arena could open at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, that's very unlikely. Could the team move during the season? It's not out of the question, but it certainly would not make things simple for season ticketholders who live near the current arena in New Jersey. The distance is not far, but travel can be dicey.

Litigation scorecard

Yormark continued to repeat the canard about Forest City Ratner's alleged perfect record in court: "We're 25 and 0 in litigation."

First, many of those case involve not FCR but the Empire State Development Corporation. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the eminent domain appeal wouldn't have been put on the calendar of the state Court of Appeals in October if FCR and its allies had a perfect record.

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