Brooklyn’s rapper and Hip-Hop mogul Shawn Corey Carter aka Jay-Z brought back the first sport arena in over 55 years to his stomping grounds. Brooklyn hasn’t had a sport arena since Dodgers President Walter O’Malley moved the team to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. O’Malley moved the team to the California coast because the city refused to help subsidize the new stadium.
“When the Dodgers left, it was another punch in the face to the fact that Brooklyn’s best days may not be ahead, but may have been behind us. It was depressing,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Fast-forward to decades later, the $1 billion Barclays Center has received millions in public money and on September 21, 2012, the sport arena was opened to the general public. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Forest City Ratner Companies chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner and Mayor Bloomberg cut the ribbon in the ceremonial opening. Supporters and Brooklyn natives cheered on as the lights were turned on and the ribbon was cut.
The Barclays Center is a multi-purpose indoor sport arena located on 620 Atlantic Avenue. It sits partly on a platform over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority-owned Vanderbilt Yards. Barclays has all black seats and mental hanging lights with a polished wooden floor design with the Net’s black and white logo in the center. It also features an exclusive VIP D’USSE Riser and Jay-Z’s 40/40 club which overlooks the court and the streets of Brooklyn. The arena which was designed by the architect firm Ellerbe Becket is named after London-based Barclays PLC. Sources reported that the banking and financial services company has agreed to pay the team between $200-$400 million dollars over the next 20 years for he naming rights.
In 2004, Barclays Center was conceived by Bruce Ratner of real estate’s developer Forrest City Ratner, the NY office of Forrest City Enterprises, who also acquired the Nets. The projected date for the arena to open was in 2006 but it was delayed six years because of lawsuits, controversies involving residents, lack of financing and the use of eminent domain. In 2009, it was announced that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to become a principal owner of the Nets and a key investor in the arena for a $200 million deal.
Rapper Jay-Z is a minority partial owner of the team and encouraged the team’s relocation to Brooklyn from New Jersey. “I feel like Jay-Z did something that no other rapper could do. He’s a good business man and role model. He showed people in general that if you work hard you can attain a high level of success, no matter where you come from, said Quazee DeJesus a NY resident.
According to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “the project has created more than 1,500 jobs.” Developer Bruce Ratner said he was glad the arena is finally open after its completion was delayed. The arena also symbolizes the rise of Brooklyn borough in recent years. It will also attract tourists from all over the world.
Having a sports arena in the borough is very impactful because Barclays will also bring a lot of other businesses to Downtown, Brooklyn. This is just the beginning to many of restaurants, shops, boutiques, brokers and apartments. Carlo Scissura, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce told the NY Post, “Clearly, this is an incredible opportunity for local and national businesses to explode along Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.” More businesses have to be built around Barclays in order for Brooklyn to become one of NYC’s landmarks and business communities. Sources are reporting that Dave & Busters. Panera Bread, TGI Friday’s and Starbucks have been shopping for space by the sports arena.
There’s nothing better than staying healthy! The house that Jay-Z built features organic and gluten-free fare at its concession stands which includes beer ($9), hotdogs ($5.25) and chocolate bars among other snacks for ($4.75). Barclays is the first arena to feature organic and gluten-free fare. “I think I feel healthier in terms of my stomach and being able to eat and process food faster,” Nets players Kris Humphries told Men’s Fitness. Jay-Z made history once again!
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