Field of Schemes
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June 25, 2009

Nets arena gets land bailout, still needs bond backing

New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner got his sweetheart land deal for a Brooklyn arena yesterday, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved a plan that would let him defer payments and spend $100 million less on replacing a rail yard on the proposed arena site. In a last-minute twist, arena opponents Develop Don't Destroy tried placing their own competing bid for the land, saying they had just as good a shot at getting financing for their Unity development plan as Ratner did for his arena, but the MTA refused to consider the offer.

And about that arena financing: The New York Times' Charles Bagli reports that it could present Ratner's "most daunting challenge," as he needs to secure $586 million in bonds by the year's end or lose the bonds' tax-exempt status, which would likely raise borrowing costs enough to kill the arena outright. The bonds would be backed by arena revenues like suite and advertising sales, and those aren't exactly selling briskly right now: Sports marketer Matt Yonan tells Bagli, "Finding sponsors at the level they need for the long haul is a difficult proposition."

For much more on this, including warnings from elected officials that it was illegal for the MTA to accept the revised deal without an independent appraisal, and video of the proceedings, see Atlantic Yards Report's long, long report on the day's events.


I think the replacement design stinks and Bruce Rattner is a cheap
trick. I hope that the program fails in its present form as its
opportunity to enhance the profile of Brooklyn and NYC at large is presently destroyed. This is too important a project to be wasted. Where is the sensibility of mission coupled with good thinking? That budget could be worked out in a salutary result WITTH the inclusion and discussion with the communiity. This is an ultimate failure without democratization, an insult to all of us.
We already lost the Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field, why would we want insult to injury?

Posted by Linda Halpern Campbell on June 25, 2009 11:01 AM

I was wondering what exciting discussion was going on that already had 19 comments...

Posted by SM on June 25, 2009 12:17 PM

Gah! Headed for the delete button. Linda, you can stop posting now...

Posted by Neil on June 25, 2009 12:22 PM

This project will be pushed through. Nets will be in brooklyn by 2011. Lebron james will be a net . Sad thing he will have to play in jersey for one year.The king will be in kings county and thats a good thing not a bad thing.

Posted by dan on June 26, 2009 10:12 AM

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