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March 28, 2011

Nets' new home moving forward

Bergen Record
by John Brennan

The spot that will one day be the site of the Barclays Center basketball court is a mud patch, and only about a quarter of the arena’s circumference is apparent.

But 12 months after a high profile groundbreaking for the $1 billion arena near downtown Brooklyn, concrete and steel testify to the reality of the Nets’ pending exit from New Jersey.

The first of the arena’s halfdozen large roof trusses was erected 10 days ago, now defining the height of the 675,000square-foot facility for the many passers-by. About 30 percent of the steel is already up, and the foundation is 70 percent complete, arena officials say.

The precast steps will be put in place within the next 30 days or so, giving a sense of the bowl to curious neighbors. The first part of the facade is expected to be in place by mid-July, and the roof should be in place by year’s end. If construction continues at this pace, the arena is likely to open on schedule in mid-2012 — just months before the Nets move in that fall.

Guess who's PUMPED! about the advent of the arena.

Nets chief executive Brett Yormark is renowned for his unbridled optimism — a trait that didn’t waver, even during last season’s record-breaking futility of an 0-18 start en route to a league-worst 12 wins in 82 games. So it’s a given that Yormark would gush about the possibilities in Brooklyn, where the arena is a key piece of the Atlantic Yards project being built by developer Forest City Ratner.

“We’ve been talking to artists and promoters, and the biggest names in the business want to play here,” Yormark said during a tour of the arena site last week. “I think our opening-month celebration is going to be unprecedented. When we put out the artists’ names that are going to appear here. … Everyone sees the movement in Brooklyn. They understand that this is going to continue the renaissance in Brooklyn, and they’re embracing it. They want to be a part of it.”

Yormark said season-ticket holders will begin receiving invitations to reserve Barclays Center seats in the next 10 days.

“We’re only marketing our 4,400 best seats to start,” said Yormark, whose arena will include 3,200 premium, or “club” seats. Yormark said that all 16 “brownstone suites,” featuring 16 seats, have sold out at $450,000 apiece. Yormark said about 40 percent of the suites are sold overall, with the nine most-expensive, event-level, Jay-Z-designed suites being held off the market until the fall.

But many Nets fans in New Jersey undoubtedly can’t visualize crossing two major rivers and numerous potential traffic bottlenecks to make it to the Barclays Center — even though the arena is less than 20 miles from downtown Hackensack and less than 30 miles from Wayne.

Parking also figures to be a challenge, although Yormark said there will be 1,100 spaces at the site, 600 more at the Atlantic Center, and another 1,600 to 1,700 spots in lots within six to eight blocks. Yormark said that studies show about 70 percent of Knicks fans arrive by mass transportation, and that he hopes that at least half of Nets fans will do the same.


Posted by eric at March 28, 2011 11:10 AM