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July 26, 2009

The Newark solution? Optimism from Star-Ledger columnist seems a bit overblown

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder examines how realistic it might be to expect a move to Newark by the New Jersey Nets.

Star-Ledger sports columnist Steve Politi published two pieces on Friday about the possibility of a Nets move to Newark, not Brooklyn.

However, that move, while it makes sense logistically from a regional perspective--the Prudential Center in Newark is already built, and underutilized, while the Atlantic Yards arena is yet unbuilt--remains a stretch until and unless the plans for AY are further undermined.

The Newark move also makes sense from a federal perspective; Forest City Ratner would save well over $100 million, mostly from federal taxpayers, thanks to the issuance of tax-exempt bonds. But the Treasury Department grandfathered in the plan for bonds.

Newark's mayor, Cory Booker has been hopeful that the Nets could become tenants at the Prudential Center.

Booker has said that he was putting together a team of investors who could purchase the Nets and move them to the Prudential Center in Newark, but he has not had direct talks with team owner Bruce Ratner.

Booker shouldn't be surprised that Ratner wants investors to join the Brooklyn plan. If Ratner simply sells the team to Newark-bound owners, he loses much of the benefit of his investment in the AY plan.

Oder also implies that Atlantic Yards opponents should remain vigilant, rather than take comfort in Bruce Ratner's financial diffiulties.

Yes, Ratner is dismantling the Nets, from roster to front-office, and has lost the confidence of many fans. But I think he's just stretching as far as possible, and aims to regroup if and when the Nets move to Brooklyn.

And I don't know if I'd call opponents chances "excellent"? They're not insubstantial and there are a lot of question marks, but the city and state remain firmly behind the plan.

Finally, there is this assessment of when a move to Newark could happen:

The only way the Nets will move to Newark is if the project called Atlantic Yards dies.


Posted by steve at July 26, 2009 9:25 AM