The western entrance of Barclays Center, taken from the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue.
|Location||620 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
|Broke ground||March 11, 2010|
|Opened||September 21, 2012|
|Owner||Forest City Enterprises (majority)
ONEXIM Sports & Entertainment (minority)
|Construction cost||$ 1 billion
($1.03 billion in 2014 dollars)
|Architect||AECOM (Ellerbe Becket)
|Project manager||Forest City Ratner Companies|
|Structural engineer||Thornton Tomasetti|
|Services engineer||WSP Flack + Kurtz|
|General contractor||Hunt Construction Group|
Ice hockey: 15,813
|Public transit access||Atlantic Terminal (LIRR Atlantic Branch)
Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center ( )
Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets ( )
|Brooklyn Nets (NBA) (2012-present)
New York Islanders (NHL) (2015-beyond)
Barclays Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena in New York City, New York, located in the borough of Brooklyn. It sits partially on a platform over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority-owned Vanderbilt Yards rail yard at Atlantic Avenue for the Long Island Rail Road. It is part of a $4.9 billion sports arena, and future business and residential complex known as the Atlantic Yards.
The arena hosts the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets, along with concerts, conventions and other sporting events. The arena and the Brooklyn Nets are owned by Mikhail Prokhorov's American holdings. The venue competes with other facilities in the New York metropolitan area, including Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Prudential Center in Newark, and Izod Center in East Rutherford. Beginning in 2015, it will also be the home of the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League.
Initially proposed in 2004 when real estate developer Bruce Ratner purchased the Nets for $300 million as the first step of the process to build a new home for the team, the development of the arena experienced significant hurdles along the way. Its use of eminent domain and its potential environmental impact stirred up community resistance, especially as residential buildings and businesses such as the Ward Bakery had to be demolished, and led to multiple lawsuits. The global recession of 2009 also caused financing for the project to dry up. As a result, the start of construction was delayed for many years and at times in danger of not happening at all. Groundbreaking for construction occurred on March 11, 2010, and the arena was opened to the public on September 21, 2012. It held its first event with a Jay-Z concert on September 28, 2012.
Barclays Center was conceived by Bruce Ratner of real estate developer Forest City Ratner Companies, the New York office of Forest City Enterprises, which he founded. He acquired the New Jersey Nets basketball team in 2004 for $300 million (he has since sold most of his shares to continue funding the project) with the purpose of moving them to Brooklyn's Prospect Heights neighborhood and have them play in the arena that would be the centerpiece of his Atlantic Yards commercial and residential development project. The site is located adjacent to the newly renamed Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center subway station (2 3 4 5 B D N Q R trains) and the Long Island Rail Road’s Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. The move marked the return of major league sports to Brooklyn, which had been absent since the departure of the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1957. Coincidentally, the original proposal for a domed stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers was just north of the Atlantic Yards site, where the Atlantic Terminal Mall, also owned by Forest City Ratner Companies, is currently located.
Barclays Center was initially projected to open in 2006, with the rest of the Atlantic Yards complex to follow. However, controversies involving local residents, the use of eminent domain, potential environmental impact, lack of continued public financing, as well as a major economic downturn delayed the project. Due to these legal and financial troubles, the development deal seemed headed towards failure or collapse. Frank Gehry, an architect involved in the project's initial designs said, in March 2009, "I don't think it is going to happen," and Ratner at one point explored selling the team. The New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ratner on May 16, 2009.[clarification needed] Opponents appealed the court decision. A hearing for the appeal was scheduled for October 14, 2009, with a decision to be issued no sooner than November 25.
In October 2009, the Nets played two preseason games at the Prudential Center. The two preseason games were successful, and a deal that would have the Nets play at the Prudential Center for the 2010–11 and 2011–12 NBA seasons became more likely. Negotiations nearly fell apart, when the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority refused to release the Nets from their lease at Izod. Negotiations resumed, and on February 18, 2010, the Nets finalized a deal that would move them to the Prudential Center in Newark, until Barclays Center opened.
On November 24, 2009, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the state using eminent domain for the project. Empire State Development Corporation Vice President Warner Johnston indicated that the agency is committed to seeing the project completed and said "we can now move forward with development."
Another potential roadblock to this development resulted from the Appellate Court's negative decision regarding a similar eminent domain case, brought against Columbia University. This landmark case could have given new life to the case being brought by the community group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB).
However, on March 1, 2010, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges struck down a challenge by property owners, regarding the state's use of eminent domain, which allowed the private property to be condemned. Groundbreaking for the project occurred on March 11, 2010.
On June 29, 2010, the first concrete was poured into Barclays Center's foundation. The arena began vertical construction on November 23, 2010, with the erection of the first steel piece. The arena topped out on January 12, 2012, and was opened to the public on September 21, 2012.
On October 24, 2012, the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL) announced that the franchise will be moving to the Barclays Center in 2015, following the expiration of their lease of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which the team has called home since its inception in 1972. The deal didn't require the involvement of the New York Rangers, as the Islanders' agreement with the Rangers allows them to relocate anywhere on Long Island, including Brooklyn and Queens. Whereas the original design of the arena would have featured an ice hockey configuration with capacity typical of the arenas used in the NHL, the final design for Barclays Center is mainly for basketball use. It can nevertheless accommodate an NHL-size rink, and a seating capacity of 15,813, which would make the arena the second smallest of the league. The scoreboard is off-centered above the rink and the seating arrangement is asymmetrical due to the small size of the bowl. As a result of the signing of the lease, the two KHL games that were scheduled to be played in the arena on January 20 and 21, 2013 between Dynamo Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg were moved back to their teams' home venues. As part of the deal, the management of the Barclays Center will take over running the business side of the team once the Islanders move to the Barclays Center, though Charles Wang will remain owner and run the sports side of the team.
According to Billboard Magazine, Barclays Center passed Madison Square Garden as the highest-grossing venue in the United States for concerts and family shows, not counting sports tickets. The sales were based between November 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013.
Initial concepts for the area were designed by Frank Gehry, whose design proposed a rooftop park (open only to residents of the Atlantic Yards complex) ringed by an open-air running track and capable of doubling as an ice skating rink in winter with panoramic, year-round views of Manhattan. The famed architect's tallest tower, called Miss Brooklyn at 620 feet, was also part of this plan. Gehry's plans carried a projected cost of $1 billion. Forest City Ratner unveiled a scaled back version of the project for economic reasons on February 2008 reducing Miss Brooklyn's size 40 percent, and making it 109 feet shorter. Another redesign unveiled just over two months later scrapped Miss Brooklyn entirely, and in January 2009, the developer started "value engineering" the arena design, cutting its budget even more. In September 2009 the Becket/SHoP proposal with a projected cost (initially) of $800 million (ultimately itself revised to $1 billion) is unveiled.
Externally, the arena's shape features three articulated bands with features a glass curtain wall covered by a "latticework" composed of 12,000 preweathered steel panels meant to evoke the image of Brooklyn's brownstones. A 117-by-56-foot (36 by 17 m) oculus extends over a 5,660-square-foot (526 m2) section of the plaza outside of the main arena entrance with an irregularly-shaped display screen looping the interior face of the oculus. The arena floor's location below grade allows scoreboard viewing from the plaza.[clarification needed]
Unlike most United States urban venues, Barclays Center has no dedicated parking, but can be reached via eleven subway lines along with the Long Island Rail Road and eleven bus lines. To accommodate entry to the facility, the arena's 38,885-square-foot (3,613 m2) entrance plaza features a $76 million transit connection hub that serves as the plaza's focal point. The transit structure connects with the renovated Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center subway station, designed by New York City firm Stantec.
On January 18, 2007, it was announced that the arena would be called Barclays Center, after London-based banking group Barclays. It was reported that banking and financial services company agreed to pay the team $400 million over the next 20 years for the naming rights of their Brooklyn home, eclipsing the previous record for naming rights to an American indoor arena, set by Royal Philips Electronics in 1999, for $185 million over 20 years for Philips Arena in Atlanta. However, the rights were renegotiated by the end of 2009, and are somewhat more than $200 million. Barclays does not have any retail banks in the US and will not have its own ATMs in the arena.
Notable firsts and significant events
The first regular season NBA game at the Barclays Center took place on November 3, 2012, when the Nets beat the visiting Toronto Raptors 107–100. The originally scheduled season opener home game was supposed to take place on November 1 against now-cross town rivals the New York Knicks, in what was planned to be a historic event; however, the game was canceled by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg due to mass transportation outages and a shortage of available police caused by Hurricane Sandy. Bloomberg was quoted as saying:
We’re sorry about the game ... but our police have other things to do. Lots of fans are going to be disappointed, the fans are disappointed, you should know the fans wanted to play, but I did talk to the NBA and recommended, asked them to cancel the game, it’s all up to me.
WWE held their annual TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs (2012) pay per view at the venue on December 16, 2012. It was the first WWE event held at the arena. WWE held WWE RAW in the arena on July 15, 2013 for the first time ever.
The first NBA playoff game at the Barclays Center took place on April 20, 2013, when the Nets beat the visiting Chicago Bulls 106–89.
The Polytechnic Institute of NYU held the first graduation ceremony at Barclays Center on May 23, 2013.
Nearby Brooklyn Technical High School held their first graduation ceremony at Barclays Center on June 21, 2013.
The Islanders played the first NHL hockey game at Barclays Center in a preseason game on September 21, 2013, losing to the New Jersey Devils 3-0 in front of a crowd of 14,689. The first goal to be scored in the arena's history was scored by Jacob Josefson of the New Jersey Devils. An Islanders game was scheduled for the previous preseason but was cancelled due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout.
The Barclays Center has been accused of mistreating luxury box holders who are African-American. Three employees of Ludwig’s Pharmacy in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn claimed in a lawsuit, filed in October 2013, that they were singled out for bad treatment at the stadium just because they are black. They are suing for $4 million.
A group of 120 part-time construction workers who work to convert the arena from concert hall to sports venue unsuccessfully tried to switch unions in February 2013. Although the pay for part-time work is comparable to that of Madison Square Garden, workers have complained about not being able to make a living on one day a month work at $14/hour, and being barred from collecting unemployment.
Since opening, the Barclays Center has hosted multiple college basketball events. Kentucky and Maryland signed multi-year agreements to play games at the arena after competing head-to-head in 2012. The arena currently hosts three early-season basketball tournaments:
The arena also has multiple single day double or tripleheaders. In 2013, these include:
- Big Apple Classic (December 15)
- Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational (December 21)
- Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival (December 28)
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