« The Litigious Legacy of Kelo | Main | Arena going up — but will the rest of the project? »

September 28, 2010

Mindboggling Reveals: Atlantic Yards Arena Team Unveils Public Plaza Design


A day before the "public information meeting" on the design of the plaza adjacent to the Barclays Center, Forest City Ratner releases renderings and a press statement.

Know what would make a great venue for the Atlantic Yards musical? The Atlantic Yards public plaza! That's right, Brooklyn's most controversial megaproject isn't all basketball arenas and skyscrapers. It also includes a 38,885-square-foot space at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, a sort of grand entrance to the Barclays Center that developer Bruce Ratner says in a press release "will quickly become one of Brooklyn’s great public spaces," at least until the B1 office building gets built.

The Plaza at the Barclays Center, like the arena itself, was designed by SHoP Architects, and features landscaping, a subway entrance, three types of pavement, seating areas for scalpers when LeBron James comes to town, in-ground lighting and the Barclays Center Oculus, which extends over the plaza and looks pretty trippy. Speaking of, is it just us or did the arena's overhang get smaller from earlier renderings? The new aerial shot makes it look a lot less like a bottle opener, which we're going to say is a good thing.

Here's everything you need to know about The Plaza at Barclays Center, except, of course, when it will funnel crowds into an arena with a winning team....


NoLandGrab: Actually, SHoP designed the exterior of the arena, after the huge public outcry over the "airplane hangar" design put forth by Ellerbe Becket after Trojan Horse Frank Gehry got his walking papers.

Permit us to make some observations about this new plaza design:

  • Once again, Forest City has released an absurdly traffic-free rendering of the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. Either they have inside information about an effort to resurrect congestion pricing in Albany (God knows they are plugged into NY State pols), or they're once again painting a waaaaay too rosy picture of what we all expect will be traffic chaos.

  • What's with all those bollards ringing the site? Didn't the NYPD say they wouldn't be necessary?

  • Speaking of security, with the arena practically hanging over Atlantic Avenue, mightn't they have to close a lane or two during arena events?

  • What's up with that pathetic little ski slope? Is that supposed to be the "green roof" Forest City promised, oh, about seven years ago?

Related coverage...

The Brooklyn Paper, Plaza sweet — Ratner unveils new front for his Barclays Center

The plaza at the entrance to the Barclays Center arena could accommodate the Brooklyn Flea, a farmers market similar in size to the one in Grand Army Plaza, or a movie night as in Brooklyn Bridge Park, developer Bruce Ratner announced on Tuesday.

The plaza will also feature a subway entrance and exit and a sweeping view to the scoreboard hanging above center court. A canopy hanging over the entrance to the arena with a hole in the center — an oculus in architectural terms — will be wrapped with a video screen that bulges to 117-feet by 56-feet, big enough for a movie.

“The arena will be an icon that will sit on the Brooklyn skyline,” said Greg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, the firm designing the Barclays Center near the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues in Prospect Heights. “But it will integrate into the neighborhood and invite everyone to use it.”

AP via , Plaza design at NYC's new Nets arena unveiled

The developer of a new arena for the NBA's New Jersey Nets has released a design for a temporary plaza in front of the Brooklyn venue.

The plaza at the busy intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues will be replaced by an office building when the market improves enough to build one.

NY Daily News, Plans for public plaza outside new Nets arena unveiled, set to open in 2012

It's unclear how long the plaza will be around. Ratner eventually plans to put an office tower there, but couldn't say when that will get underway.

"This economy for office buildings is not very good," Ratner said, adding he wouldn't build until a major tenant was in place. "It could happen in a couple years, or it could be longer."

The timeline for the rest of the 16 tower project is just as fuzzy.

Crain's NY Business, New Atlantic Yards Barclays Center plaza unveiled

The next step in the Atlantic Yards project will focus on the first residential building, which will include affordable housing. Mr. Ratner will announced the name of the architects that will work on the project some time in the first quarter of 2011, while construction could begin in the spring of next year, with construction of a new residential building beginning every six to nine months thereafter.

The latest cost estimate for the arena is $900 million with the project still on budget. Mr. Ratner reiterated the fact that his company has applied for a federal program that gives green cards to foreign investors who lend money to job-creating projects. He's scheduled for a trip to China next month to raise funds.

Image: SHoP Architects

Posted by eric at September 28, 2010 1:39 PM