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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 1:16 AM
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Such limited thought. Imagine what spectacular NYC landmarks we WOULDN'T have if everyone thought like that. This sucks so bad.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 11:42 AM
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Such limited thought. Imagine what spectacular NYC landmarks we WOULDN'T have if everyone thought like that. This sucks so bad.
It sucks, but short of Bloomberg paying for the construction himself, I don't know what else you can do. They can put it on ice for five or ten years and wait for the recovery wave, but that would be killing this project for sure. Best to get going now, in whatever form possible. It's a little crappy looking, but I'm sure it has all of the modern amenities on the inside, and in a decade or so of the Nets playing there, fans will have no other way than what it is.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 11:49 AM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/09/ar...l?ref=nyregion

Battle Between Budget and Beauty, Which Budget Won


The firm Ellerbe Becket’s design for a Nets arena in Brooklyn, viewed from Atlantic Avenue. A version by Frank Gehry has been abandoned.


The firm Ellerbe Becket’s design for a Nets arena, looking east.



By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
June 8, 2009

The recent news that the developer Forest City Ratner had scrapped Frank Gehry’s design for a Nets arena in central Brooklyn is not just a blow to the art of architecture. It is a shameful betrayal of the public trust, one that should enrage all those who care about this city.

Whatever you may have felt about Mr. Gehry’s design — too big, too flamboyant — there is little doubt that it was thoughtful architecture. His arena complex, in which the stadium was embedded in a matrix of towers resembling falling shards of glass, was a striking addition to the Brooklyn skyline; it was also a fervent effort to engage the life of the city below.

A new design by the firm Ellerbe Becket has no such ambitions. A colossal, spiritless box, it would fit more comfortably in a cornfield than at one of the busiest intersections of a vibrant metropolis.
Its low-budget, no-frills design embodies the crass, bottom-line mentality that puts personal profit above the public good. If it is ever built, it will create a black hole in the heart of a vital neighborhood.

But what’s most offensive about the design is the message it sends to New Yorkers. Architecture, we are being told, is something decorative and expendable, a luxury we can afford only in good times, or if we happen to be very rich. What’s most important is to build, no matter how thoughtless or dehumanizing the results. It is the kind of logic that kills cities — and that has been poisoning this one for decades.

I suppose we should have seen this coming. The scale and location of the project posed serious challenges — challenges that could not be solved by the conventional development formulas. Arenas are notorious black holes in urban neighborhoods, sitting empty most of the year and draining the life around them. And in this case, the arena would dominate a major intersection and anchor a dense 22-acre residential development several blocks to the east.

Mr. Gehry began by asking a simple question: Is it possible to integrate an arena of this size into the city? Many architects would attempt to disguise the structure behind banners and billboards. Mr. Gehry’s solution was more inventive: to envelop the arena in the fabric of the city itself.

He began by surrounding the arena with four residential towers — essentially burying it in the middle of the triangular block at the southeast corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. A glass-enclosed public space, several stories high, projected out from one of the towers toward the intersection, like the prow of a ship. An oval lawn, surrounded by a running track, covered the arena’s roof. Open only to the towers’ tenants, it nonetheless added to the feel that the building had been swallowed up by the city.

Perhaps the most ingenious aspect of the design was the way it met the street. Along Atlantic and Flatbush, where the bowl of the arena bulged out between the residential towers, Mr. Gehry clad it in panels of curved glass, so that people passing by could peer directly into the concourse. From certain perspectives, views opened up straight through the arena itself.

There were valid objections to the design. Some people argued that it was overscaled — traffic would be a nightmare — and that it would destroy the character of the neighborhood. But to those of us who defended it, Mr. Gehry’s design was an ingenious solution to a seemingly intractable problem, one that would provide a focal point for an area (and arguably a borough) that could use some cohesion. Like all great architecture, it challenged our assumptions of what a building of its type can do.

The rest of the story is a depressing illustration of how New York development gets done. While Forest City Ratner fought for more and more concessions from the city — demanding tax breaks, reducing the number of affordable housing units — Mr. Gehry was forced to trim back his design. First the rooftop park was dropped because it was too expensive. The prowlike public space was redesigned, then redesigned again, until it began to look like a conventional atrium.

Worst of all, the main tower at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush was stripped of much of its vitality. Once a dynamic composition of tumbling glass shards, it became a more static form of irregularly stacked boxes, one that failed to capture the energy of the traffic streaming by on both sides. Then the towers, too, began to disappear, one by one, until the arena bowl was left naked and exposed to the street.

Still, this was not enough. In a stunning bait-and-switch, Forest City Ratner (which was the development partner for The New York Times Company’s headquarters in Midtown) has now decided that it can’t afford an architect of Mr. Gehry’s stature. Neglecting to tell the public, the firm went out months ago and hired Ellerbe Becket, corporate architects known for producing generic, unimaginative buildings. And although it has refused to release details of the design, the renderings, obtained by The New York Times, tell you all you need to know.

A massive vaulted shed that rests on a masonry base, the arena is as glamorous as a storage warehouse. A rectangular window overlooks Atlantic, but without the other buildings it lacks the sense of mystery and surprise that was such an essential part of the Gehry design. A trapezoidal brick and glass box at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush is obviously intended as an echo of Gehry’s public space. But Gehry’s room, several stories tall, soared over the intersection. Ellerbe Becket’s, lower to the ground, just sits there, adding nothing.

Building this monstrosity at such a critical urban intersection would be deadly. Clearly, the city would be better off with nothing. But what’s at issue here is more than the betrayal of a particular community, as tragic as that could be. It is the way the city makes decisions about large-sale development.

Typically, a developer comes to the city with big plans. Promises are made. Serious architects are brought in. The needs of the community, like ample parkland and affordable housing, are taken into account. Editorial boards and critics, like me, praise the design for its ambition.

Eventually, the project takes on a momentum of its own. The city and state, afraid of an embarrassing public failure, feel pressured to get the project done at any cost, and begin to make concessions. Given the time such developments take to build, sometimes a decade or more, we then hit the inevitable economic downturn. The developer pleads poverty. Desperate to avoid more economic bad news, government officials cut a deal.

It’s a familiar ending, made more nauseating because we have seen it so many times before. And it can’t be solved by simply crunching numbers. It demands a profound shift in mentality. What we have now is a system in which decent architecture and the economic needs of developers are in fundamental opposition. Until that changes, there will be more Atlantic Yards in our future.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 12:10 PM
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I read that the new redesign of the arena will be stripped of an ice rink, or the capabilities of hosting an ice rink.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 12:19 PM
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I read that the new redesign of the arena will be stripped of an ice rink, or the capabilities of hosting an ice rink.
Probably true. It would probably be a good idea if the Islanders were to relocate there also (there has been talk of the owner moving the team to Queens, but nothing came of that).
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 12:42 PM
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http://www.observer.com/2009/real-es...atlantic-yards

Gehry or Not, Here He Comes! Ratner To Get Shovels Moving Again for Atlantic Yards



By Eliot Brown
June 8, 2009

Fresh off dumping Frank Gehry from his planned Brooklyn Nets arena, Bruce Ratner appears to be putting his money where his mouth is, as the real estate developer plans to restart stalled construction work again on his $4 billion Atlantic Yards project.

Preliminary work at the site, including the construction of a temporary rail yard, has been stalled since December 2008, when Mr. Ratner abruptly halted all work in an apparent bid to save money while the project was debated in court.

But now, per a construction update from the state agency overseeing the project, in the next two weeks, we’ll see a “remobilization of contractors” and “general excavation” in the rail yard.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the project is a go just yet. The biggest hurdles remaining for Mr. Ratner are the successful financing of his arena with tax-free bonds, along with a renegotiation of agreements with the city and state.

The tax-free bonds are certain to stoke debate, as a similar bond sale by the Yankees for their stadium ignited an explosion of criticism before the deal was completed early this year. Much of that criticism focused on what critics said was an artificial increase in land values to make the bond deal legal, and as the Atlantic Yards Report notes today, values have skyrocketed in the Atlantic Yards footprint in the past two years.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 2:47 PM
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At the end of the day it has to make dollars to make sense... but the replacement honestly sucks. FYI NEW YORK CITY, the city of Cleveland has NUMEROUS old industrial buildings that look just like that stadium and we will be willing to sell you one. PM me if interested. Thank you. -Cleveland
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2009, 12:13 AM
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At the end of the day it has to make dollars to make sense... but the replacement honestly sucks. FYI NEW YORK CITY, the city of Cleveland has NUMEROUS old industrial buildings that look just like that stadium and we will be willing to sell you one. PM me if interested. Thank you. -Cleveland
New York has plenty of its own. But I disagree that nothing is better, or that this arena will create a "black hole" in the neighborhood, especially considering what's there now, which is nothing. It seems Ratner can't win here, if he decides to wait out the economy, he'll get slammed for not building, and when he tries to build in the best way to move forward, he's slammed for that as well.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2009, 1:32 AM
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New York has plenty of its own. But I disagree that nothing is better, or that this arena will create a "black hole" in the neighborhood, especially considering what's there now, which is nothing. It seems Ratner can't win here, if he decides to wait out the economy, he'll get slammed for not building, and when he tries to build in the best way to move forward, he's slammed for that as well.
speaking of the clev, funny it's just the opposite back there at FCE home base. FCE never gets slammed for not building a thing in downtown cleveland despite the property they control. that's because all the local politicians are firmly in FCE's pocket. hrrmmphh, and that would be the day eminent domain was ever used against them.

anyway, i don't think anything is going happen with atlantic yards in this economy, not even this crummy looking b-plan arena. the nets will probably long be in newark before FCE/ratner lifts a shovel. wouldn't surprise me.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2009, 11:56 AM
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anyway, i don't think anything is going happen with atlantic yards in this economy, not even this crummy looking b-plan arena. the nets will probably long be in newark before FCE/ratner lifts a shovel. wouldn't surprise me.
Well, the last of the court cases are dwindling down to nothing, so I do believe we will see progress on this now. The economy has already had it's affect on the arena. It's not pretty, but it is what it is, a new home for the Nets.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2009, 12:54 PM
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http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/...ds_arena_.html

Brooklynites call foul on new designs for Atlantic Yards arena project


BY Ben Chapman and Jotham Sederstrom
June 10th 2009

New designs for a proposed NBA basketball arena at the controversial Atlantic Yards site received overwhelmingly poor reviews Tuesday from disappointed Brooklynites.

Described alternately as an airplane hangar and a suburban big-box chain store, designs commissioned by Forest City Ratner got failing grades, even from supporters of the project.

"It looks like an airplane hangar from the '50s - not a good look," said Joe Voden, 40, of Prospect Heights, a supporter of the $4.2 billion project who opposes the new design.

The designs, which a Ratner spokesman and the new architect insisted are not final, are a far cry from the glitzy glass-enclosed arena envisioned by original architect Frank Gehry, who announced last week that he would no longer be involved in the project.

Architecture firm Ellerbe Becket was quietly tapped last year to create a less costly arena, which Ratner officials insisted would retain some of the Gehry flourishes.

And as recently as last Thursday, Ratner officials claimed that the Gehry designs would be used as a "blueprint" for the new arena, the estimated cost of which had soared to a whopping $950 million.

Not so, said Geoffrey Soffer, a television casting director who moved to Prospect Heights from Hell's Kitchen two years ago to live next to what he thought would be a work of art.

"These are obviously two very different designs," said Soffer, 32, who bought a condo nearby. "We've been duped."

For Ron Karp, a Sheepshead Bay resident who was shopping at the nearby Atlantic Terminal Mall Tuesday, the new designs reminded him of the great outdoors, for better or worse.

"It looks like a barn that should have horses and cows out front," cracked Karp, 62, a supporter of the project. "It looks like something you would see when driving upstate."

The design had the opposite effect for Bedford-Stuyvesant resident James Taylor, who noted the new arena design's orange facade looked similar to that of a familiar nationwide retail chain.

"It looks a little like a Home Depot," said Taylor, 19. "It's not as extravagant as I thought it would be."

Prospect Heights writer Aharon Levy was more direct.

"The entirety of the design is dull," said Levy, 34, who is opposed to the Yards project. "It's suburban. We have [garbage] here now and in the future we're going to have [garbage]."

For one new Brooklynite, however, the arena was nothing short of inspiring, a piece of architecture like no other.

"I like the new design better," said a 27-year-old Prospect Heights bartender who grew up in Eastern Europe and gave only her first name, Izabel. "It reminds me of a train station back at home in Poland."
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  #52  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 1:42 PM
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http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories...editorial.html

Gehry or not, Brooklyn needs this arena

EDITORIAL
June 11, 2009

Bruce Ratner’s bid to save his Atlantic Yards basketball arena by simplifying its design was predictable, but for our part, we’ll stick with consistency: Whatever serious reservations we’ve had about the larger Atlantic Yards project, the plan for the arena — though no longer the grandiose one envisioned by Frank Gehry — still merits support.

The arena remains what we have always said it is: a fundamentally vital civic project in the right place at the right time.

Now the timing better fortifies our long-held position. In the current economic climate, it would be foolhardy to walk away from both the economic development opportunity and heightened civic identity offered up by the arena and the Nets.

One need not be a hopeless romantic to appreciate the value of a professional sports team to a city like Brooklyn — which would be the fifth-largest in the country were it not shackled to the larger Gotham. Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and even Nassau County have their own major league teams — and the vibrancy that come with them — so it is appropriate that Brooklyn gets some of the action, too.

Die-hard opponents of the arena were quick to pile on this week when Ratner, buffeted like everyone else by the shattered economy, shelved Gehry’s beautiful, though impractical, designs.

Ratner allies, most notably the New York Times, proved themselves to be fair-weather friends in this regard. Though the so-called Paper of Record had been a longtime cheerleader — and objectivity-averse supporter — of the entire Atlantic Yards project, the Times prominently displayed its architecture critic’s denunciation of the new arena design. While no one is happy with the new utilitarian Ellerbe Becket blueprint, we refuse to give up on Brooklyn’s arena.

Our past support for the arena was not solely contingent on the Gehry design, which was like fine lingerie. Replacing the lingerie with cheaper pajamas doesn’t detract from what lies underneath.

Unlike the Times editorial board, we live here — and we are still drawn to the prospect of the Nets coming to Brooklyn in an arena that will energize the area around it.

Are there caveats? Of course. Ratner and his MTA allies must not allow the land around the arena site to become large parking lots. The transit agency, which is negotiating with Ratner to give the developer a break on his development rights to the Vanderbilt rail yards, must get something in return: a commitment to a sensible development that does not allow the arena to become a suburban-style black hole. Or, better still, the MTA should sub-divide Ratner’s superblock and solicit new bids on each site.

And state officials must reject Ratner’s current plan to have a basketball arena that can’t also be configured for pro hockey. That’s just foolishness.

But these are smaller issues. The debate over the larger Atlantic Yards project will continue for some time, but its future arguably rests as much on the city’s ability to reignite its economic engine as it does on that debate. Meanwhile, game time for the arena is now.


©2009 The Brooklyn Paper
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  #53  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2009, 11:36 PM
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http://www.observer.com/2009/real-es...atlantic-yards

Ratner To Pay $180 M. Less Upfront For Atlantic Yards

By Eliot Brown
June 22, 2009


In the world of public-private real estate deals, the word “renegotiation” has been popping up a lot lately.

The latest installment came early Monday afternoon, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a revised plan for the Atlantic Yards project on M.T.A. land in Brooklyn, for which the agency was once promised $100 million upfront and a $250 million new rail yard.

Developer Forest City Ratner, which intends to build a basketball arena for the Nets and thousands of apartments at the site, has renegotiated a deal with the agency to the point where it pays about $180 million less, at least at first.

Forest City would build a new rail yard for about $150 million with one-fourth less capacity than planned, and pay $20 million upfront. Over the next 22 years, according to the agreement, the developer would give payments worth $80 million in today’s dollars to the M.T.A.

The new deal, which is slated to be approved by the M.T.A.’s board Wednesday, comes as a stream of litigation since 2006 has delayed the start date for the project to a point at which the economy has changed dramatically. Forest City came back to the agency asking for relief from its promises. This left the agency in a tough position: If it refused to negotiate and scrapped the deal, it’s hard to think new bidders would line up with a better offer in this environment.

Monday’s announcement, made at a meeting of the M.T.A.’s finance committee, did include one new, if small, income stream: The agency agreed to lease the naming rights for the Atlantic Avenue station, where the project is based. With payments of $200,000 a year for 20 years, the new name: “Barclays Center,” which an agency official said will appear alongside the existing name for the station.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2009, 11:42 PM
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http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/arti...-for-new-arena

Nets envision a 'Brooklyn brand' for new arena

Jun. 19, 2009


With sports architect Ellerbe Becket officially replacing renowned civic designer Frank Gehry on the New Jersey Nets' Barclays Center project, the Nets are redeveloping their venue plans by focusing on the "Brooklyn brand."

The project's principals spoke about their vision for the building last week after the change in architects resulted in some withering criticism from, among others, The New York Times' architecture critic, who called the scrapping of Gehry's design "a shameful betrayal of the public trust."

But Brett Yormark, Nets Sports & Entertainment president and CEO, said bringing on the sports design firm to cut construction costs from about $1 billion to $800 million was the right call.

Gehry had never designed a big league arena before Nets owner Bruce Ratner called, whereas Ellerbe brings experience in building multiple NBA arenas that will help get the job done in time for a planned 2011 opening.

"They know where the land mines are, they know where the issues are, they bring best practices when it comes to building first-class venues around the world, to Brooklyn, which to me is so valuable, especially now," Yormark said. "We can't afford to have a misdirection, especially at this point in time."

Critics say Brooklyn will be the poorer without Gehry's futuristic, glass-clad design of a development in which towers surrounded the arena, but Yormark says that the new design will further the borough's brand by embracing its historical image as a working-class industrial hub.

"The biggest change is that the building is now going to evoke Brooklyn like never before," he said. "There's such a legacy there. Wherever I travel, it is an international brand. They wear it on their hats and on their chests. We're going ... to brand Brooklyn in a big-time way, and it will start with the look and feel of the building."

The 18,000-seat arena's two suite levels will be called the Brownstones and the Lofts. The exterior will have plenty of glass providing outside views into the bowl, which will continue to give the arena the contemporary feel Ratner wanted when he hired Gehry about five years ago. There will be plenty of natural light shining through the building as per Ratner's instructions, Yormark said.

In addition, the Nets are building a practice facility next to Barclays Center, on the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic streets, something that was not part of Gehry's design. The add-on ties in with the team's effort to form a close bond with Brooklyn's 2.5 million residents by having the players spend more time on-site, Yormark said.


The team plans to introduce 10-person mini-suites to the New York market for firms that ordinarily would not be able to afford the high-end premium experience after the team moves from the Izod Center at the Meadowlands, Yormark said.

Barclays Center's mini-suite concept is a reflection of the current market for premium seats, where teams are seeing their biggest spenders vacate the traditional 16-seat skyboxes in greater numbers than ever before. The number of mini-suites and their prices have yet to be determined, but the Nets' smaller corporate partners have shown interest, Yormark said.

"In a real sense, we may be planning what could become one of the new series of arenas going forward," said Bill Crockett, Ellerbe Becket's principal-in-charge of the project. "We are designing this in a very strategic way ... so that we can really adapt the inventory and mix of suites small to large."

Practical design changes include an interior layout where fans enter the arena's concourse at street level to get to their seats. It's a departure from Gehry's plans that mapped out an asymmetrical seating bowl with sloping suite levels. "Simpler sometimes is better," Yormark said.

New technology features include BCTV, similar to Cisco's StadiumVision, an in-house feed that will expose sponsors' brands to premium and public sections, "and if there's a way we can devise to deliver that to everybody in their seats, we will pursue that as well," Yormark said.

Ellerbe designed Conseco Fieldhouse, which set the standard for themed NBA arenas with tight seating bowls that other teams have strived to emulate since it opened 10 years ago. James Poulson, principally involved in that project, is part of the architect's design team in Brooklyn.

Steve Duethman, also on the team, was project manager for Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena, a college basketball facility many say is on par with NBA buildings.

Ellerbe also designed the Guangdong Olympic Stadium in China, where Yormark is spending time this week searching for additional sponsors, with a side trip to Hong Kong to visit a digital sign manufacturer's research and development facility.

The Nets plan to break ground in September, pending city approvals on the arena design.
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Old Posted Jun 23, 2009, 10:44 PM
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http://www.observer.com/2009/slidesh...more-expensive

The New Atlantic Yards: Less Pretty, More Pricey

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Two and a half years after receiving the go-ahead to build a $4 billion complex of apartments and a Nets basketball arena, developer Forest City Ratner is back with a modified plan, trying, once again, to wrap up approvals and to get financing for the project.

The plan has been heavily battered by the recession and rising costs: Star architect Frank Gehry was once promised and relentlessly advertised as designer of the whole project, including the arena—now he’s out, on account of costs. Payments to the public sector—in the form of cash up front and a new rail yard for the M.T.A., have been delayed and curtailed, respectively. The housing is slated to start after the arena starts. And the total price tag now is estimated in state documents at about $4.9 billion, up from $4 billion.

Tuesday, the state released some early renderings of the new, trimmed down and less attractive arena by arena architect Ellerbe Becket






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  #56  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2009, 8:31 PM
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It be nice to get a more distinct image of what this arena will look like. The renders that have been shown are quite vague.
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  #57  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2009, 4:45 AM
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Most aspects of the design I find alright, the only thing that's really killing me is that god awful roof design
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  #58  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2009, 7:43 PM
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Don't Judge New Barclays Center Design Yet, Developer Says



Oh, you thought all those leaked renderings of the new and incredibly shitty Barclays Center were the real thing? Haha, silly you. Those much-reviled designs, which replaced Frank Gehry's more expensive vision, were premature—or so says Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, who Crain's reports has promised city officials that "The Hangar" will be nothing short of superb. Also, the Nets will when the title next year and Daniel Goldstein just put a deposit down on 10 luxury suites.


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http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article...FREE/907029995

Ratner promises Atlantic Yards arena redesign
The Forest City Ratner chief said the Atlantic Yards basketball arena renderings leaked to the media last month were premature and do not reflect his intentions for the project.


By Erik Engquist
July 2, 2009

Bruce Ratner, chief executive of Forest City Ratner, has told senior members of the Bloomberg administration that the Atlantic Yards basketball arena renderings leaked to the media last month were premature and do not reflect his intentions for the project, city sources say. While Mr. Ratner is said to have reaffirmed his commitment to a "world-class" design, he faces the challenge of improving it without substantially raising the cost.

Frank Gehry had designed a $1 billion arena that impressed architecture critics but proved unaffordable when the economy tanked and credit markets froze. Missouri-based architectural firm Ellerbe Becket was brought in and proposed a $772 million arena that resembled an airplane hangar.

To say that the design did not meet the expectations of Amanda Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, would be a vast understatement.

"One of the key goals of the Atlantic Yards project was to transform an area with development that incorporates world-class architecture, a dynamic streetscape, and significant public amenities," she said in a statement issued by her spokeswoman. "Bruce Ratner has given the city a commitment that he will design the Atlantic Yards in a way that respects both the letter and the spirit of what was envisaged in 2006, when the project received its original approval."


The project's original schedule called for the New Jersey Nets to begin playing in the arena this fall. Forest City is now simply trying to break ground by Dec. 31, the deadline to qualify for tax-exempt financing. Lawsuits by project opponents have stymied the development for years.
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  #59  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2009, 12:15 AM
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2009, 10:01 PM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/ny...1&ref=nyregion

Atlantic Yards’ Developer Races a Court Hearing, a Bond Deadline and Opponents

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
August 9, 2009


As the usual tumult greeted the final public hearings on the Atlantic Yards development last month, it was business as usual for the developer Bruce C. Ratner.

He visited three rating agencies in preparation for selling bonds this fall to finance the first project in the 22-acre development near Downtown Brooklyn: an $800 million, 18,000-seat arena for the New Jersey Nets.

He flew to Moscow to meet with the billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov about investing in the money-losing Nets.

He went to and from City Hall and the state’s economic development offices on Third Avenue to complete the paperwork for the Atlantic Yards development and to start work on the arena.

“We are racing to the finish line,” Mr. Ratner said in an interview as the public hearing drew to a close. “Our sense is that while this project was important five years ago, it has become even more important given the economy and the job situation in the city.”

Aside from the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, Atlantic Yards is the largest project in the city moving forward. The redevelopment of the 26-acre Hudson Yards in Manhattan and dozens of other projects have been slowed or stopped by a flagging economy and a lack of real estate financing.

But Mr. Ratner must clear a number of important hurdles before starting construction of the arena and the first four residential towers.

There is an Oct. 14 hearing before the state’s highest court, where opponents hope to scuttle Atlantic Yards by challenging the state’s use of eminent domain. Beyond that, there is a looming deadline: he must get the financing done and start work by Dec. 31 in order to qualify for a much needed tax-exempt bond status and hold on to a $400 million naming-rights deal with Barclays Bank for the arena.


Mr. Ratner acknowledged that he was also seeking additional investors for the Nets, but he said he and his company would retain a substantial stake in the team, which he hopes to move to Brooklyn during the 2011-12 season.

Mr. Ratner has already pared back the cost of the arena from $1 billion and replaced the original architect, Frank Gehry, with the firm of Ellerbe Becket, which has designed a number of basketball arenas. At the same time, he struck new agreements with both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the railroad yard where Mr. Ratner wants to build the arena, and the state to revise his original plans.

Officials have given him more time to build eight acres of publicly accessible open space and as many as 16 buildings and 6,400 apartments, while allowing him to replace the railyard with a smaller, less expensive yard than originally planned. About 40 percent of the housing would be built for low-, moderate- and middle-income families.

Critics, led by the group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, contend that Atlantic Yards will overwhelm the neighborhood and unfairly benefit a developer who they say has received too many subsidies, including $305 million from the city and the state, along with tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks.

The Court of Appeals has set an Oct. 14 date for oral arguments: some local property owners are challenging a unanimous lower court decision approving the state’s use of eminent domain. Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy and one of the property owners, said “the project is dead” if their appeal is successful. A decision is expected in November.

Regardless, he added, “We plan on bringing at least two more significant lawsuits against the phantom project,” a reference to the developer’s failure to release new images of his buildings after scrapping the original designs.

Mr. Ratner said he expected to release new images of the arena before Labor Day. “I think the final architecture will be really beautiful,” he said.

The developer disputed critics who claim that he may never build the parks and affordable housing that he once promised, now that the expected completion date has been pushed out to 2019, from 2016. Mr. Ratner said there was a continuing need for affordable housing for the city’s teachers, nurses, firefighters and hotel workers.

“There is a stable and steady group of takers for work-force housing in the city,” Mr. Ratner said. “The goal is not just to create the required amount but possibly more than that.”

In recent weeks, the developer has sought additional housing subsidies from city officials, who have so far declined to go beyond the standard incentives for developers. The project’s underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs, are also preparing to sell about $700 million in bonds for the arena in October.

Some real estate executives and critics said it would be hard to sell the bonds for such an uncertain project. But Jay Abrams, a bond analyst at FMS Bonds, said there “is definitely an appetite for tax-exempt bonds in New York, and elsewhere.” The lawsuit, he added, “is not necessarily a game-killer. At the right price, there’s always a buyer for bonds.”
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