Skip to main content

Current management seen as continuing at Barclays Center (operating company), though not clear how long; why is Ratner selling for seeming low price?

Forest City Enterprises and Bruce Ratner are selling their 55% share of the Barclays Center--actually, the arena operating company--and only a few details have emerged since Sports Business Journal broke the news yesterday.

Sports Business Journal noted that investment bank Evercore, which is packaging the arena deal, declined to comment, and "Forest City referred questions to Nets and arena spokesman Barry Baum, who declined to comment."

Yesterday, however, there was a statement, as ESPN reported:
"Our goal is to identify a strategic partner as we continue to capitalize on the great performance of Barclays Center and the promise of Nassau Coliseum," Barclays Center spokesman Barry Baum said in a statement. "The current management team [Ratner and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark] will continue in its existing role."
That doesn't mean much. The current management team could continue as long as those owning the arena operating company decide to keep it. And the mention of the Nassau Coliseum suggests that the expected buyer/strategic partner might also get a piece of the Long Island arena.

Capital New York added this detail:
Exactly what sort of ownership structure will be created for the Barclays Center remains to be seen, but any deal will keep the Nets in place as the controlling owners. The team has a 45 percent stake in the arena.
I'm not sure of that syntax, because the Nets are not currently "in place as the controlling owners." Prokhorov, who owns 80% of the team, is a minority owner of the arena holding company. That might simply be an awkward interpretation of the statement that the current management would remain.

The Daily News reported:
Still, insider sources said that the best way to drive the value for Barclays Center is to keep the key players in place, meaning Ratner and CEO Brett Yormark could maintain their roles as day-to-day operators of the arena.
I'd bet those "insider sources" were current management.

A tenant/occupant owner, or not?

The new Islanders ownership has been mentioned as a potential buyer, as well. Sports Business Journal observed:
Indeed, if one of those two teams’ owners does not buy the arena — the Nets’ controlling owners hold the other 45 percent stake of the building — the structure would join a select list of venues in sports: an arena hosting two professional sports teams, but all three entities having separate ownership.
That runs counter to the traditional model of a team wanting to control the arena it plays in, enabling that franchise to benefit from having non-sports revenue at the facility as well.
If and when Prokhorov takes a majority, that means that almost all of the Atlantic Yards project--the arena plus 15 planned towers--will be under the control of foreign owners.

Ownership of the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets
I'd bet that the one remaining building, the stalled B2 modular tower, will eventually be owned by Greenland Forest City Partners, the joint venture 70% owned by the Shanghai government-owned Greenland Group.

Public ownership

Note that neither Porkhorov nor Ratner actually own the arena, which is technically publicly owned and leased for a dollar.

The arena is nominally owned by the Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation, a creation of the Job Development Authority, which is an alter ego of the Empire State Development Corporation. That enables a complicated process for the developer to save money via the issuance of tax-exempt arena bonds.

The arena is then leased (I believe) to Brooklyn Arena, LLC, which is currently owned 55% by a Forest City affiliate and 45% by a Prokhorov affiliate. (See graphic at right from the 2010 Official Statement for the arena bonds, and click to enlarge.)

The new owners will still have to pay PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) to pay off the $511 million in tax-exempt bonds.

Sale at a loss?

The Daily News picked up (without credit) my observation that the $750 million assumed valuation, based on revenue flow, appears to be a loss, based on $930 million or $845 million in project costs (which add infrastructure). Ratner's share would be some $400 million.

The Wall Street Journal reported:
The move stands as a test for the value of the arena. In its first full year of operations, the building generated just shy of $30 million of operating income, less than its debt expenses, Forest City reported, leading to a loss for the year.
Since then, the performance has improved—it reported $21 million in operating income in the first six months of this year.
But at a pace that is still well below initial projections, which envisioned more than $70 million in annual operating income.
Even so, that doesn't mean Ratner should be selling at a loss, especially since the Barclays Center appears poised to reap more consistent revenues when the Islanders move in September 2015.

Could the concert business be that variable? Were some of the big-name concerts achieved by giving the artists particularly sweet deals?

Or is there more to the price and the contours of the deal than meet the eye?

One thing to note is that Forest City will still remain in the arena business, with the project to revamp the Nassau Coliseum. One of the selling points for that detail was potential synergy with the Barclays Center.

A wild-card explanation

Here's a wild-card thought as to why they might be selling the arena: maybe Forest City recognizes that, even with the coming green roof on the arena, it won't muffle sound enough before it hits the adjacent apartment buildings that they are building (two of them with Greenland). And they don't want to be responsible.

Ratner's selling the Nets

Ratner has been unable to sell his 20% share of the Nets, though the paper valuation of the team has rocketed, to a potential $1 billion or more. There's apparently a gap between the paper value and the lack of annual profits.

 Sports Business Journal reported:
The problem, market insiders said, are the steep financial losses at the Nets, which incurred a U.S. sports record loss of $144 million last season, according to published reports. The team has committed to stop the red ink after this season, but with an owner, Prokhorov, seen as willing to tolerate losses to sign top players, finding a willing partner subject to capital calls is not easy.
...Forest City paid Prokhorov a fee to avoid capital calls through July 2015, according to Forest City’s annual report, so the purchaser of the stake would apparently enjoy one capital-call-free season — the coming, 2014-15 season.
Murkiness about Prokhorov

Prokhorov's future is up in the air, too, as the Daily News reported:
Meanwhile in Russia, a leader of a political party said Monday that Mikhail Prokhorov could again dive into Russian politics “at any moment” ahead of the 2016 elections. As part of Russian law enacted under the rule of President Vladimir Putin, the 49-year-old Prokhorov would either have to divest his majority shares of the Nets or place the basketball team under control of one of his Russian companies if he again wants to run for office.
ESPN reported that at least one interested party said Prokhorov would be willing to give up majority ownership for the right price.


  1. Interesting to see the David Offensend-connected Evercore popping up here again in another AY (aka "PP") related article.

    On another front, David Offensend (at the NYPL as COO starting 2004) and his wife Janet (at the BPL as Trustee starting 2005) have both been heavily involved in the new agenda of selling off and shrinking NYC libraries. The developer recently named as chosen by the BPL to sell and shrink the Brooklyn Heights Library (David Kramer of the Hudson Companies) has recently come to the defense of Mr. Offensend to describe him as well meaning and has also been arguing that any Ratner connections to the sell-off of libraries behind the scenes should be disregarded as minimal, nonexistent and irrelevant. No matter taking on that argument, it is an interestingly small world where a few players seem to keep recycling through.


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…

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…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

For Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting Sept. 19, another bare-bones agenda (green wall?)

A message from Empire State Development (ESD) reminds us that the next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life Meeting--which aims to update community members on construction and other issues--will be held:
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6 pm
Shirley Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room
Brooklyn, NY 11217 The typically bare-bones, agenda, below, tells us nothing about the content of the presentation. One thing to look for is any hint of plans to start a new building on the southeast block of the project by the end of the year.

If not, ESD is supposed to re-evaluate a longstanding request from project neighbors to move back a giant wall encroaching on part of Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. It's said to enclose construction activity, but, in recent months, has significantly served to protect worker parking.

Also, by the way, if you search for Atlantic Yards on Google or the ESD website, it leads to this page for the Atlantic Ya…