Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fact-checking eight claims in Brett Yormark's Billboard Q&A

A Billboard Q&A, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark on the Brooklyn Brand, Jay-Z, $1 Billion Building, is worth some quick fact-checking. (Yes, this is part of the Culture of Cheating.)

Yormark's words are in italics; his truth-vigilante interviewer is in bold italic.

Bruce Ratner had the vision of bringing sports and entertainment back to Brooklyn and building a mixed-use development at Flatbush and Atlantic for the arena and the team, which really would be the anchor of this renaissance of downtown Brooklyn.

The renaissance has been happening for a while. And the arena isn't in Downtown Brooklyn, though some think the borders should be extended to include it.

Our mantra was always we're going to market this team and build this team as if we were staying in Jersey for the next 20 years, because we didn't want people to think we were shortchanging them, and we never did that. The reality is, we struggled a little bit the last couple of years, both on and off the court.

The reality is, they struggled a lot. Remember the fans wearing paper bags?

We spent a lot of time developing the logo, the color scheme, we developed a plan to launch our brand here behind the messaging of "Hello Brooklyn," and it really connected with everyone in the borough here. They bought into the movement that sports is finally coming to Brooklyn and they have a home team, which is incredible.

It connected with everyone? Please stay away from unsupported generalization.

Brooklyn is an iconic brand. One out of every seven Americans has a connection back to Brooklyn, whether it's relatives, friends or themselves.

No, they don't.

[Jay-Z] designed the logo and the color scheme, and he also helped collaborate with the court design.

No, Jay-Z didn't design the logo, though he had a role.

I'd agree, the arena feels very "Brooklyn." I've rarely seen a venue built to integrate so completely into its neighborhood, and reflect the vibe of that neighborhood.
You're absolutely right. SHoP Architects and Ellerbe Beckett, they've done an incredible job of truly speaking to the borough and integrating the architectural flavor of the building in a way that really fits the borough.


Integrated completely into the neighborhood? Walk around first, especially Dean and Pacific streets.

Shortly after our meeting out there we got a deal done, and Barclays has never wavered. I'm not sure we'd be opening this building in the fall if it weren't for Barclays.

Barclays renegotiated the naming rights agreement a couple of times, and halved the announced amount.

The Barclays Center is billed as a $1 billion building. Where does $1 billion go in an arena of this somewhat limited footprint?
New York is expensive. When you look at some of the finishes and the architectural nature of this building, it required a substantial sum of money to do it the right way.


The building plus the new transit entrance would cost under $845 million. The rest of that nice round number comes from other project-related elements.

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