NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After much delay, officials marked the completion of the Barclays Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it “a great day for Brooklyn and a great day for New York City,” while Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov promised a top-notch product for Brooklyn’s new hard court.
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“I can assure you: we are bringing a team worthy of this great arena and worthy of Brooklyn,” Prokhorov said.
The Brooklyn Nets’ new arena has been a long time coming.
“The arena is about three or four years late because of lawsuits and because of the great recession,” said Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner. “We needed to finance an arena when no one thought that was possible and we did it.”
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The state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat arena will also play host to major concerts, hockey games and fashion shows soon after it opens. Jay-Z will christen the building with a concert on Sept. 28.
The Nets will play their first regular season game in November against the New York Knicks.
The arena is part of the larger, nearly $5 billion Atlantic Yards project that’s seen its fair share of controversy and court fights over the years.
Demonstrators from the group Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn held a protest at Friday’s ceremony.
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They claim Ratner has not followed through on promises to provide good jobs and cheap apartments to residents displaced by the mega-project.
“What we’re saying to them is it is unconscionable to allow 18 acres or so in central Brooklyn — at the cross roads of Brooklyn — to be held hostage by an individual developer who clearly can’t fulfill what he committed to,” said Daniel Goldstein of Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.
Ratner said crews are expected to break ground on the first of 17 new high rises by the end of the year.
If you plan on going to the Barclays Center for either a concert or a game, be warned that parking is very limited. Arena management strongly recommends using public transportation. There are 11 trains that stop at the Barclays Center station.
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