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November 2, 2008

Bad news for Brooklyn


In the last month, three pieces of news have surfaced about the Nets and all of it may contribute to doom for their dreams of getting James' interest despite what you may read, listen to and see elsewhere.

First, a New York appellate court cleared a lawsuit to go forward that will further delay groundbreaking of the Nets' Brooklyn arena for at least six months. James, of course, piqued interest over the summer when he said his favorite New York borough was Brooklyn. Nary a mention of the Bronx, home of his supposed beloved Yankees, or any community in Jersey where the Nets currently play in perhaps the most dilapidated arena in the NBA.

The $1 billion Frank Gehry-designed Brooklyn project, which once promised to be opened by late 2009, now may not be ready until the 2012-13 season, a full two seasons after James' free agency. But, in reality, there's a chance it may never open at all.

Second, the New York Times reported the Nets' $400 million arena naming rights deal with Barclays Capital has a clause requiring financing to be settled by the end of this month. The team owner and Cleveland native, Bruce C. Ratner, has been tussling trying to get bonds for the arena, part of his $4 billion Atlantic Yards development. Barclays recently said it is still supporting the project but here's two things you don't want to be doing these days if you are a real estate developer: attempting to get new financing or re-negotiating terms with an investment bank.

Third, the New York Daily News broke a story this week that Ratner met with investors earlier this year in an attempt to sell controlling interest in the Nets to cash out some equity. No word on whether Jay-Z wanted to dump his minor investment in the team. The Nets denied it but the Daily News stood behind their source, an investor who said he listened to Ratner's pitch.

NoLandGrab: Contrary to the headline, many people in Brooklyn think this is good news. Hence the lawsuits...

Atlantic Yards Report comments:

In other words, it's still all in flux. But Cleveland superstar LeBron James, a friend of Nets part-owner Jay-Z, becomes a free agent in 2010, which means a new arena in Brooklyn likely wouldn't be available for at least two seasons.

Then again, there is a new arena in Newark.

Posted by amy at November 2, 2008 9:56 AM