Ratner, Nets, Union Workers Celebrate
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Forest City Ratner Companies, Nets Basketball, construction contractors and many others yesterday celebrated the topping out of Barclays Center arena.
The event marked the completion of the erection of 10,400 pounds of structural steel for Barclays Center, the major sports and entertainment venue that is scheduled to open at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues in September 2012.
The erection of steel began in November 2010 and proceeded rapidly. It followed a long, drawn-out struggle in court, in the regulatory arena and in public hearings with opponents of the project, many of whom lived in the “footprint” of the project.
Forest City Ratner Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, the arena developer, announced the plan to bring the Nets here in late 2003, surrounded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then-Governor Pataki, Borough President Marty Markowitz and other high-powered officials. He visited Barclays Center yesterday and congratulated the more than 500 workers on their momentous achievement.
“From Day One, I said I want to develop great things that create jobs, and that’s what we’re doing by building this spectacular arena,” said Ratner. “In just eight months, we will open Barclays Center and bring many exciting events here, where your hard work will be appreciated by millions of people for years to come. I can’t thank you enough for your dedication.
“And, most importantly, it’s all union, union, union as we continue to build important projects for the city and the state,” he said. From the beginning, the construction unions were among his biggest supporters.
“Hunt Construction wants to thank Forest City Ratner Companies and Nets Basketball for the opportunity to participate on this landmark project,” said H. Mark Gladden, project executive for Hunt Construction Group, Inc. “We also congratulate our partners Banker Steel, J.F. Stearns Company and Ironworkers Local 361 in topping out the Barclays Center steel framing. We look forward to the grand opening and ribbon cutting this fall!”
The Nets thanked the workers by providing 1,000 tickets to upcoming weekend games, and Hunt Construction provided the workers with celebratory Barclays Center Topping Out long-sleeve T-shirts.
The arena was designed by the award-winning architectural firms AECOM and SHoP Architects. The design replaces an earlier one by award-winning architect Frank Gehry, which was rejected in 2009, during the economic recession, for budgetary reasons.
Barclays Center will offer approximately 18,000 seats for basketball and up to 19,000 seats for concerts, and will also have 100 luxury suites, four bars/lounges, three clubs and a restaurant.
Barclays Center will host an extensive variety of events, including premier concerts, monthly major professional boxing cards, top college basketball and hockey, family shows, and Nets Basketball. Some of the special programming that is already scheduled includes Jay-Z, who will open the building on Sept. 28; Andrea Bocelli; the Barclays Center Classic men’s college basketball tournament; Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship; Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus; Disney on Ice; and more.
In addition to Barclays, the naming rights partner, founding partners for Barclays Center include Cushman & Wakefield, EmblemHealth, Foxwoods Resort Casino, MetroPCS, Stolichnaya, and Tyco. Other sponsors include: Anheuser-Busch, The Coca-Cola Company, Haier America, High Point Solutions, Phillips-Van Heusen, and Willis.
Located atop one of the largest transportation hubs in New York City, Barclays Center will be accessible by nine subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.