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August 19, 2008

If Barclays Center gets built, how long before it's obsolete?

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder continues his conversation with Field of Schemes author and blogger Neil deMause.

Q. Economist Mark Rosentraub, in your book, says something like, if you’re not prepared for major changes in your sports facility by its second decade, you’re being pollyanish. Let’s say Frank Gehry’s designing the best arena of its time. How long would it last before it needs to be reworked?

A. Well, [Seattle's] Key Arena was rebuilt in '94; now the Sonics are trying to move to Oklahoma City, that’s 14 years. [They have since gotten the OK to move.]

It depends on what you mean by reworked--torn down and rebuilt, or have some new things added? I think there will always be new technology that teams want, or new things that someone else will come up with and will make more revenue, and they’ll say, we need some of those too, the question is what you can retrofit, how much it costs and who pays for it.

At one point, I asked that to Rod Fort, an economist at the University of Michigan. His response was, Well, from the perspective of the owner, if you’re not paying for it, I don’t see anything wrong with a new arena every year.
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I don’t think there's any way of knowing. I think the answer is: it’s when the team owner, whoever it happens to be, thinks they can realistically come back and demand something. That could be five years, it could be 30 years--but there’s always going to be something they don’t have.

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NoLandGrab: If history is any guide, Bruce Ratner will not be bashful about holding his hand out to the taxpayers.

Posted by eric at August 19, 2008 9:09 AM