Developer Bruce Ratner plans to spend more than $500 million on a new arena for the Brooklyn Nets, making it the most expensive home court in NBA history, sources said. "It will cost about $500 million and change," a source familiar with the project told the Daily News.
That would be more than twice the average cost of the eight NBA arenas built since 1999, and would easily surpass the $375 million Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Ratner lieutenant Bruce Bender neither confirmed nor denied the half-billion-dollar figure. But he noted the arena is being designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry, and "it's going to be done right." He said Gehry also has been told to explore expanding the arena's capacity, to create more lower-priced seats. The arena, to be built at Atlantic and Flatbush Aves., originally was designed to seat 19,000.
Ratner also has hired a team of consultants to look into selling lucrative naming rights for the arena, Bender said.
The project's $2.5 billion price tag reflects "the complexity of the site," Bender said, hinting at the controversial task ahead of buying the 21-acre swath of land for the proposed complex.
The development also includes 4,500 units of housing, at $1.25 billion, and 2.4 million square feet of office and retail space at $750 million.
Ratner faces stiff opposition from locals, including more than 160 homeowners who would have to be moved to make way for the development. They have hired ex-New York Civil Liberties Union head Norman Siegel to fight efforts by the state to condemn their property.
Although Ratner has said the project will be financed primarily with private funds, Bender noted the city will have to ante up an estimated $150 million for improving roads, sewers and utilities.
The developer's company, Forest City Ratner, also expects a cut of the city and state tax revenues generated by the team's move from New Jersey, the source said.
"That allows [Ratner] to finance about $400 million to $500 million," the source said.
I live 5 blocks from the proposed site and the neighborhood has changed alot in the last 10 years. It has been undergoing gentrifacation to the south in Park Slope since about 1990. The entire 5th Avenue stretch running down from Flatbush has also come on in the last few years. But the entire downtown Brooklyn area has remained relatively funky. Brooklyn really needs something new in the downtown area to help revitalize it. The Marriott and the brand new subway/LIRR hub are great starts, but half-assed efforts like Metro Tech are feeble at best. If he can make this happen with private money it would be great, but if not, let Ratner take a tour of the public schools in the area and then let him say the Nets are more deserving.
"Well, you can't involve friendship with business. It has to be one or the other. It's either business or friendship, or hit the bricks!" --Life Lessons from "The Tao of Bobby the Brain Heenan" Uncensored 2000 preview
"As long as the check don't bounce, I guess he's okay with it!" --Former All Pro Giants LB Harry Carson on Bill Parcells joining the hated rival Dallas Cowboys
I'm personally waiting to see if he can do a repeat performance. If the Clippers get this far, but lose Sam Cassell (THE single reason for the Clippers' turnaround) in the offseason, all these good feelings could be for naught.