Skip to main content

Mayor Booker: moving Nets to Newark "fixed in my mind"

Even as political officials in New York are hoping to position Atlantic Yards for federal stimulus funds, Newark Mayor Cory Booker says that the city's effort to lure the New Jersey Nets to Newark is "fixed in my mind."

That comment came as Booker was interviewed last Thursday, February 5, on Newark Today with Mayor Cory Booker, a public affairs show on WBGO, Newark's public radio station, hosted by Andrew Meyer.

State of the City

Booker was more circumspect Monday night, apparently not mentioning the Nets during his State of the City address.

Actually, as the Star-Ledger's Brian Donohue explained in the video report Ledger Live, Booker's prepared--but not delivered--text included a planned slip. As the mayor discussed bringing different types of investments to the city, he was to say, "We're excited to see what's NETS... I mean, next."

WBGO's Meyer was interviewed about Booker's speech yesterday, on All Things Considered , at about 38:15 of the second hour. Beginning at about 42:15, Meyer was asked what Booker didn't talk about.

AM: I would almost say the New Jersey Nets. Now, he did have a quick reference to the Nets. [It's not clear whether Meyer was referring to the prepared text or not.]
But the big question right now, one of the big questions in the city is: what's going to happen with the Nets. They're waiting for their arena to be built in Brooklyn. But many people are saying, "Look, you've got this brand new sports arena right in downtown Newark where the [hockey New Jersey] Devils are playing... this would be an ideal location to bring the Nets. It's ready to go; they can just walk in and it's theirs." So, there's a lot of speculation about whether or not that team is going to end up here. Mayor Booker's holding his cards very tight to the vest on this one. We pressed him time and time again, and he'll just say that his staff would be very angry with him if he was to tip any details. But he says there are discussions going on there.

On WBGO, "out on a limb"

Last Thursday, however, the mayor was not reticent. The sequence began at about 35:10 of the show; both Booker and host Meyer sounded notably enthusiastic.

CB: Our city in the next three years is going to have the most exciting things happening in our downtown. And I can't wait. And I'm going to go out on a limb right now. When we start seeing things like the Nets return to Newark--and I say return, but come--

AM: --You read my mind, Mayor... When are they coming? What do you know?

CB:I tell you this. I am putting a considerable amount of time into this, strategies, working behind the scenes. I really don't want to go too far out on a limb and my staff is going to jump all over me because--

(Last May 1 the Star-Ledger reported on efforts by the city administration and Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek to assemble an ownership group to buy the Nets.)

Brooklyn a mirage?

AM: Well, let me put out there what we know. We have a contributor here who's been tracking the project closely, and he's said basically that the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn has ground to a halt, Bruce Ratner, the developer, is not moving forward with the arena, supposedly until all the lawsuits over eminent domain are settled, and they're not even due to go to trial until next year. You combine that with the lack of financing available for big projects and, y'know, the Brooklyn Nets seem more and more like a mirage.

Actually, the eminent domain lawsuit will be heard in less than two weeks (and a decision in the EIS case is pending). Forest City Ratner executives assert that construction would begin in mid-2009.

Booker remained enthusiastic

CB: I'm telling you right now I have it fixed in my mind. Every single day I think about it, that we're going to have the Newark Nets one day. It's taking a lot of work on both sides of the river, and there are a lot of people from Brooklyn to Newark that believe that that team belongs here. What it's going to mean for our city is, just like the bars and restaurants that I was around [downtown], on Super Bowl Sunday. It means another 50 nights of tens of thousands of people coming to the city of Newark. It means parking tax for the city, payroll tax for the city, it means more economic development, more minority businesses are going to open up in our downtown through our loan fund. It would make a tremendous difference, and create an incredible excitement, it's something I'm working very hard on, and I'm hoping that will be successful.

The rent and the parking

Meyer also brought up the dispute about the $2 million rent the New Jersey Devils, the primary tenant of the Prudential Center, allegedly owe the city.

Booker said the issue was in arbitration and "I will not yield." However, he said that the Devils "make a tremendous amount of contributions: to the community, so, while the city should demand every dollar it deserves, it should "continue to build the strength and steam of that institution."

Meyer brought up complaints that it costs $40 for parking near the arena. "Those are midtown Manhattan prices," he said.

Booker's response: "What I'm going to simply say is take public transportation... We're perfectly located in the middle of a great transportation hub." He also pointed out that, if visitors were willing to walk, parking was less costly a little farther from the arena.


  1. Um, I parked right across Mulberry Street, within 40 feet of the Arena on Saturday night for the Devils-Kings game and it only cost me $25. I don't know where this $40 parking lot is, but even if it exists, you can always do like I did on Monday night for the Devils-Rangers game and park on one of the streets in the Ironbound for free.

  2. While it may cost $40 to park in certain locations in Manhattan, Newark is NOT Manhattan, and it presents Newark in a negative light (price gouging). Further more, it is a very common practice in Manhattan to have "Event Pricing", which is a discount to the normal price - parking garages around Madison Sq. Garden do this during Knicks games (approx. $23), and I just recently went to the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan and paid $16.23 (incl tax) for event parking. Lastly, the current parking rate at the Izod Center is $12 and if you purchased VIP parking in advance of the season, it's $10 - if you tell me I'm going to pay 2-3 times more for parking, I'm probably not going to go to as many games.

    Newark is in a rebuilding stage, and is beginning to be seen in a more positive light, the last thing you want to do is try to compare yourself directly to Manhattan and state that you think the city deserves the same pricing - you want to offer alternative pricing - charge lower prices that encourage people to come to your city...and then further down the line, when the city is more well established as an equal or better alternative to Manhattan you can increase pricing (a little).

    In hard economic times, keep pricing low and you make it up on the increased volume (have "Park Free" night 1-2 times per season, and market the heck out of it!).

    I think Newark can be a great city, hopefully they won't derail themselves by focusing on the short-term profits - please focus on keeping the Nets in NJ, the profits will eventually follow.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.


Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park in 2017: no new towers, unfilled affordable units, Islanders prepare to leave, project timetable fuzzy

My 2018 preview.

It was another wait-and-see year for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, with one big twist--the beginning of a slow goodbye for the New York Islanders--but continued delays for towers, a lost (mostly) 421-a subsidy for condos, and new skepticism about unfilled not-so-affordable housing units.

So ongoing questions linger regarding the project's pace, affordability, and even future ownership.

In my 2017 preview, I predicted--not exactly going out on a limb--that two and likely three more towers would open, though it would be unclear how fast they'd lease up and sell.

Indeed, we've learned that the middle-income below-market units at 461 Dean (which opened in 2016) and 535 Carlton have leased very slowly, while it's too soon to assess progress for commensurate units at 38 Sixth. (At 535 Carlton and 38 Sixth, middle-income units make up half the "100% affordable" buildings.) Meanwhile, many apartments are up for rent at the 550 Vanderbilt condo buildin…