The Vultures Are Circling
There is hope BK Love, never count New Jersey out, people should have learned that by now-
From The Real Deal:
Investors urge Ratner to ditch Brooklyn for Newark arena
The Prudential Center
By David Jones
Developer Bruce Ratner has been approached by several New Jersey investors and public officials on a plan to relocate the Nets to the Prudential Center in downtown Newark, according to sources familiar with the talks.
The investors would like Ratner to have the Nets partner with the New Jersey Devils and move into the Prudential Center in Newark, where the hockey team has just finished its first full season.
"They're being wooed politically as well as by the private sector," said Ken Baris, a West Orange, New Jersey-based realtor, who is familiar with some of the investors who have approached Ratner. "There's a lot of people that kind of want to keep it quiet, but [at the same time] are looking forward to a lot more leaks."
A move to Newark would effectively end Ratner's efforts to move the Nets to a proposed $950 million Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, which was to serve as the centerpiece of his controversial $4 billion Atlantic Yards complex and would be the most expensive basketball arena in the country. Nets officials denied there have been any plans to move to Newark and have insisted they are moving forward with the Brooklyn arena.
"The Nets are moving to Brooklyn, period," said Barry Baum, a spokesman for Forest City Ratner who handles the Nets.
Still, sources say the discussions have life.
Since the October opening of the Prudential Center, Newark officials have urged New Jersey Governor, Jon Corzine, to shut down the Izod Center in East Rutherford, where the Nets have played since 1981.
After failing to make the playoffs and trading its star player, Jason Kidd, the Nets are expected to lose more than $40 million for the 2007-2008 season. They currently plan to stay at the Izod Center for at least another two seasons.
"If they don't get that arena built in Brooklyn in the next couple of years, I'm doubtful that Ratner would want to keep paying for losses for the Nets," said Michael Cramer, professor of sports management at New York University. "It would have been good to get the Nets and Devils in the same arena."
Baum said, however, that the Nets are set to announce new corporate partners in May for luxury suites at the proposed Barclays arena, and are working to sell season tickets and corporate sponsors at the Izod Center for the remaining two years at that site.
New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Van der Beek declined to comment on the Nets. But, he said, the arena is doing much better than "our wildest expectations." He said the Devils were averaging about 16,000 fans a game and that the arena would average about 175 event nights in its first year. He said he hoped that the number of events would climb to 225 per year in the future.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo wants the Nets to join the Devils in Newark, and has publicly questioned claims by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority that the arena can turn a profit with no hockey team and limited public transportation.
"We would welcome the Nets with open arms," DiVincenzo told The Real Deal. "If anything could be negotiated I think it would be great." A provision in the Nets lease with the NJSEA calls for a $12 million penalty if the Nets move to another arena outside of Brooklyn or Queens, however the Star Ledger reported earlier this week that officials might be willing to waive the penalty.
Ratner told the New York Times in March that he would not be able to finance the full 16 building Atlantic Yards project for several years due to a weak financing environment and the inability to find an anchor tenant for the Miss Brooklyn office tower. However, he said, that he would move ahead with the arena by the end of 2008.
Atlantic Yards opponents have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case and officials from Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn said they expect the court make a decision on whether to hear it by June.
Newark vs. Brooklyn, Let The Battle Begin
Booker to Brooklyn: Let's settle Nets matter on basketball court
by Jeffery C. Mays/The Star-Ledger Thursday May 01, 2008, 7:25 PM
If left up to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the battle over the Nets won't be decided by the credit markets or zoning boards, but rather on the basketball court.
Booker challeged Markowitz to a one-on-one game of hoops for the Nets after the borough president released a statement today calling Newark, Brooklyn's 'western suburb" and insiting New Jersey's largest city will never steal Nets from Brooklyn.
The trash talk came in response to a story that ran in The Star-Ledger today that reported New Jersey Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek and Booker are quietly trying to assemble an investment team should plans to build a new arena in Brooklyn go asunder.
Nets owner Bruce Ratner has said the team is not for sale. But that wasn't enough for Markowitz.
"After years of obscurity mired in the Meadowlands, the Nets are ready for a slam dunk in the Brooklyn big leagues. Who knows, maybe the Devils want to lace up and come here too! If my esteemed colleague Cory Booker in Brooklyn's 'western suburb,' a.k.a. Newark, New Jersey, is looking for a professional basketball team, maybe he should ask the Knicks," Markowitz said in a statement.
Booker responded by saying he would continue to pursue his "personal dream" of bringing the Nets to the $375 million Prudential Center "no matter how unrealistic."
"I yield to...Marty Markowitz, my esteemed colleague in the "eastern suburb" of Newark a.k.a Brooklyn, and would like to officially challenge him with the remaining shreds of my athletic pride to a one and one basketball game to battle for the Nets!"
Markowitz' website said one of his campaign promises was to bring the first national sports team back to Brooklyn since the Dodgers left.
"I accept Mayor Booker's challenge and must remind him that I am only 5-foot-5," said Markowitz. "I'll accept the challenge only if I can have a ringer play against him."
Corzine Loves Nets In Jersey
^^^^Well lets see if some people can make that happen. Make AYs unattractive, which it is becoming by the day, and watch the Nets go right to Newark where they rightfully belong.
Also let us not forget that before Corzine was Gov, he bid for the Nets, but was out-bid by Ratner!
Corzine wants Nets to stay in New Jersey
Friday, May 02, 2008
BY IAN T. SHEARN
Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday he would like the Nets to stay in New Jersey, be it Newark or East Rutherford, but sees no need for his involvement at this point.
"It would be encouraging to have the Nets stay here, whichever venue," Corzine said. "I would very much prefer they be in New Jersey as opposed to Brooklyn, and we will wait to hear whether there are propositions that the state has a role to play in," the governor told reporters following an appearance in Piscataway.
The governor's remarks came in response to a story in The Star-Ledger that ran yesterday. That story reported that Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek and Newark Mayor Cory Booker are quietly trying to assemble an investment team should plans to build a new arena in Brooklyn go asunder.
"There have been no discussions with any elected officials or business executives about buying the team or moving to Newark," Nets owner Bruce Ratner said in a statement released yesterday. "The team is very simply not for sale and any stories that suggest or insinuate that we would be interested in listening to those conversations are flat-out false."
Nets president Rod Thorn yesterday underscored Ratner's assertions: "All the indications that I've been given are that we are going to Brooklyn, and that they expect us to be there in 2010. ... And yes, I've asked. I feel confident that it's going to happen, because that's what ownership says is going to happen."
But a statement filed by the team with the SEC a month ago lays out the risks related to the Brooklyn development.
"Our investment in the Nets is subject to a number of operational risks. .... There is also the potential for increased costs and delays to the project as a result of increasing construction costs, scarcity of labor and supplies, our inability to obtain tax-exempt financing or the availability of financing or public subsidies, increasing rates for financings, and other potential litigation seeking to enjoin or prevent the project for which there may not be insurance coverage."
Then, the report states, "If any of the foregoing risks were to occur, we may not be able to develop Brooklyn Atlantic Yards to the extent intended or at all."
Staff writers Claire Heininger and Dave D'Alessandro contributed to this report.
Community: Stop The Altantic Yards Boondoggle
^^^Ratner has to give it up. I find it hard to believe Booker, Vanderbeek, Corzine, and the Star-Ledger are all lying or being miss quoted. Just admit that you have talked with them and exploring other options Ratner.
Rally Will Call on Governor To Halt Atlantic Yards
By PETER KIEFER
Staff Reporter of the Sun
May 2, 2008
Seizing on a string of reports questioning the economic viability of the Atlantic Yards project, hundreds of residents and a handful of elected officials are expected at a rally Saturday calling on Governor Paterson to step in and halt all demolition related to the $4 billion plan.
"There is tremendous uncertainty about the future of the project," Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries said in an interview yesterday. "Myself and several of my colleagues in the state believe under Governor Paterson we have an opportunity for a complete re-evaluation of the size, scope, and definition for the Atlantic Yards project."
Since becoming governor, Mr. Paterson has been quiet on Atlantic Yards, an 8-million-square-foot development that would create more than 6,000 apartments, office space, and an arena for the Nets basketball team on 22 acres, near the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues in Brooklyn. The plan required the state to exercise eminent domain, a process that Mr. Paterson opposed when he was a state senator.
The original Atlantic Yards proposal pledged 2,250 "moderate income" residential units, but a number of critics are now questioning whether the affordable housing will be built.
A spokesman for Forest City Ratner, Loren Riegelhaupt, said all facets of the plan, including the affordable housing, were moving forward and that the company expects to break ground on the arena later this year. "Nothing has changed. We are going to build all of the Atlantic Yards and all of the affordable housing. Any rumors that things have changed are flat-out wrong," he said.
Mr. Riegelhaupt also warned that any delays would hurt the community. "Any slowdown in our construction phase will only result in the delay of the affordable housing and the jobs we are trying to create with this project," he said.
Following an acknowledgement a month ago that the plan was delayed, developer Bruce Ratner and his company have been forced to address a series of questions about the project's viability.
Yesterday Mr. Ratner denied a report in the Newark Star-Ledger that the owner of the New Jersey Devils, Jeffrey Vanderbeek, and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark were trying to assemble investors to buy the Nets and move the basketball team to Newark from the Izod Center in the Meadowlands.
"The team is very simply not for sale and any stories that suggest or insinuate that we would be interested in listening to those conversations are flat out false," Mr. Ratner said in a statement. "We are focused on breaking ground on the Barclays Center in Brooklyn later this year and building all of Atlantic Yards, nothing else."
The Star-Ledger report came a day after a group of 13 residents whose apartments face condemnation filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. The suit alleges that the agreement between the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner violates the state's eminent domain law, which says seized property must be offered back to its prior holder if it is not "materially improved" in 10 years.
The agreement reached with the ESDC gives Forest City at least 12 years to complete the first phase of the project and an unspecified amount of time for the second phase.
"Something is up. If the project was a done deal, why are they now talking about selling the Nets and why is the city funding an agreement allowing Ratner to build a project that is much smaller with far fewer affordable units with no penalty?" a spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Daniel Goldstein, said. "That is why we need a time-out."
Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and City Council members Letitia James, David Yassky, and Tony Avella also are expected to participate in Saturday's rally.
New renderings courtesy Daily News...
Atlantic Yards' Miss Brooklyn is slashed more than 100 feet in massive redo
By Jotham Sederstrom
Daily News Staff Writer
There she goes.
Miss Brooklyn, the Frank Gehry-designed signature tower of the controversial Atlantic Yards project, has been dumped.
Originally envisioned as a 620-foot residential and commercial tower, the newly named "B1" - or Building One - will be slashed to 511 feet and feature commercial office space only, Gehry said yesterday.
"My enthusiasm for Atlantic Yards has grown and grown until arriving at our current design, which works better with the surrounding area than it ever had before," said Gehry of new designs obtained exclusively by the Daily News.
"Miss Brooklyn, now called Building One, has been slimmed down and has become more festive, resulting in a very unique office building," he said.
"I've tried to give it some energy and excitement as it meshes with the arena design."
The 34-story structure - once expected to rise higher than the Williamsburgh Savings Bank - will now be dwarfed by it. The sleek Miss Brooklyn is replaced by an asymmetrical design that rises like a spiraling Lego structure, edges askew.
The glass-and-steel-framed building, seen as the centerpiece of the oft-stalled 22-acre project, will no longer house condos and instead will offer 650,000 square feet of office space, officials said.
The condos will be shifted to a different building or be built as rental units instead, said Forest City Ratner Executive Vice President MaryAnne Gilmartin.
Meanwhile, "B2," which will be completed first, is a red-and-pink-hued, 340-foot building featuring 350 market-rate and affordable apartments, which Gehry said "speaks to the residential fabric of the neighborhood."
The $4.2 billion project, slated to include 16 residential and commercial towers encircling a pro basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets, has seen its share of trouble since the plan was approved by state officials in 2006.
There's been a bevy of lawsuits waged by opponents.
In March, supporters and critics were shocked to learn that much of the project - including the former Miss Brooklyn - would be delayed because of a looming financial crisis.
Ratner officials now claim the constantly changing project is on track to be built by 2018.
Opponents still say that's an ambitious target date because there's no deal yet on financing or an anchor tenant.