Today’s news:

Plaza sweet — Ratner unveils new front for his Barclays Center

The Brooklyn Paper

The plaza at the entrance to the Barclays Center arena could accommodate the Brooklyn Flea, a farmers market similar in size to the one in Grand Army Plaza, or a movie night as in Brooklyn Bridge Park, developer Bruce Ratner announced on Tuesday.

The plaza will also feature a subway entrance and exit and a sweeping view to the scoreboard hanging above center court. A canopy hanging over the entrance to the arena with a hole in the center — an oculus in architectural terms — will be wrapped with a video screen that bulges to 117-feet by 56-feet, big enough for a movie.

“The arena will be an icon that will sit on the Brooklyn skyline,” said Greg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, the firm designing the Barclays Center near the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues in Prospect Heights. “But it will integrate into the neighborhood and invite everyone to use it.”

The notion of a “neighborhood” amenity at the core of a highly controversial project was a central theme of the new design, which was released by Ratner at a press conference on Tuesday at his New York Times building in Manhattan, a neighboring borough.

Opponents of the full 16-building, 6,430-unit residential and office project have long complained that its promise of open space and a unifying element between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene have been overstated.

But Pasquarelli insisted that “the plaza [will] become a meeting place, and the focus of the neighborhood.”

The proposed plaza consists of two main parts:

• A large, high-traffic pedestrian zone between the arena-facing subway exit and the front door of the $900-million Barclays Center.

• A smaller portion, directly to the west of the green-roofed subway entrance, that is meant for sitting on benches cut into large planters that also function as security bollards. Pasquarelli said that his projections suggest that pedestrian traffic through this area would be limited.

Basketball fans arriving from the subway will walk up the stairs into a grand space comparable in scale to the plaza in front of the Brooklyn Museum and bigger than Lincoln Center’s public space. This area will accommodate music and events as diverse as markets or fashion shows. In a “cafe” configuration, the plaza could hold 250 seats and 70 tables, Ratner said.

Pedestrians moving to and from the subways and from Park Slope into Fort Greene will also move through this area.

When asked, Pasaquarelli admitted that there would be considerable noise from the traffic on Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, but no more than in other urban plazas.

“There’s a lot of traffic around Union Square, with Broadway,” he said. “This plaza will feel safe and open.”

It is unclear how such events will be accommodated given that the arena is expected to be busy at least 265 days a year.

The detail work on the new renderings was substantial, right down to the variety of paving stones — narrow planks where pedestrians would be rushing, larger and varied blocks where they are expected to be more leisurely — and flush-mounted lighting that will illuminate the entire plaza without floodlights that would annoy neighbors.

“We integrated the lighting into the plaza material [so] there aren’t big floodlights,” Pasquarelli said.

Despite all the details, the plaza is only temporary — hopefully, Ratner said.

When the market for offices rebounds — he did not say “if” it returns — Ratner said he would move forward with the project’s largest tower, a 50-story office and hotel complex on the same triangular plot of land as the plaza. (See sidebar about the timeline here.)

But Ratner and Pasquarelli assured reporters that the public space concept itself is permanent, though much of the open space would be contained within a soaring, 80-foot glass-walled atrium called “the Urban Room,” one of the last remaining features of the original master plan by starchitect Frank Gehry, whom Ratner fired last year.

Forest City officials will present the renderings to the public at Borough Hall [209 Joralemon St. between Adams and Court streets in Downtown, (212) 981-5125] on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 6-8 pm.

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Reader Feedback

Tony V from South Slope says:
No matter what anyone can do with "renderings", this is destined to be another eyesore in Brooklyn, courtesy of the Mayor, his real estate cronies, Ratner, this news paper and of course, Marty Markowitz.

I love the idea of forcing people to negotiate the death triangle of Flatbush and Atlantic to enter that beautiful structure. I am so sure the roar of buses and the fumes emitted by trucks and cabs will add to the romance of the new arena.

Egads. I am praying for a real estate crash to put an end to this retched vision.
Sept. 28, 2010, 1:02 pm
ch from bh says:
what a realistic representation of the traffic nightmare this thing is destined to create! whoo-hoo! exhaust smells like victory.

thanks for the well thought-out "urban room" Marty and Bruce, you hacks.

rot in peace.
Sept. 28, 2010, 1:29 pm
pher from Prospect Heights says:
This "interim" design has about as much to do with the Gehry "Urban Room" design that was originally presented as AY's "temporary" but gigantic parking lot on the phase 2 site has to do with the originally-proposed "publicly-accessible" open space.

The State of New York and FCRC are making it up as they go along, and we get stuck with the results.
Sept. 28, 2010, 2:05 pm
JudahSpechal from Bed_Stuy says:
It's still ugly. Thank you DDDB!
Sept. 28, 2010, 2:56 pm
Bill from NC says:
It sure looks unattractive to me. It looks like something to attract children to a theme park.
Sept. 28, 2010, 3:03 pm
ph from ph says:
yeah, because DDDB designed this POS, Judah.
Sept. 28, 2010, 5:45 pm
J from Brooklyn says:
Ugly.

Very ugly.
Sept. 28, 2010, 9:18 pm
frannybabe from red hook says:
i think it will be great to have the arena in brooklyn better than traveling to n.y all the time and it is good for the communty
Sept. 28, 2010, 10:24 pm
somedude from mill basin says:
Is this a public space? Or does FCR own it? Either way FCR will have to put a lot of creativity and resources into programming it in order to make it a success--i.e. attractive to people--and NOT just on game days. Judging by the rendering (tons of concrete, few trees, not much seating), there isn't much in the design that assures it will draw people.
Sept. 29, 2010, 10:24 am
Willie from The Block says:
How can a project of such magnitude not include a culture venue? How can such an ugly design be acceptable? Oh wait. This is ever modest Brooklyn. We expect blandness or faux modern visual attrocities like the addition to the Brooklyn Museum (which would be fine as a back entrance)and the yellow submarine of the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Welcome third rate arena. You have many peers.
Sept. 29, 2010, 11:30 am
Stop crying from Brooklyn says:
That area is a complete crap hole. Knocking down those dilapidated buildings is the best thing they could have done. Maybe this project will generate some interest in the parts east of 6th ave on Atlantic Ave.
Sept. 29, 2010, 1:19 pm
judahspechal from Bed-Stuy says:
False Prophets! DDDB! It's your frivolous lawsuits causing delays that cost this Borough a masterpiece. That is the legacy for your obstructionist stands, DDDB. This ugly crappy arena. You created the narrative against the developer & went on to help him accomplish a sweetheart deal. If this project was built as originally schedule more than the arena would be up already. What did you obstruction accomplished? This ugly impression of an aliens decapitated head. Once again thank you! Everytime I look at this Alien Head, I will think of you & the guy that ran all the way to the bank with $3millions.
Sept. 29, 2010, 1:48 pm
spaceman from earth says:
Barclays certainly wasted their money when they bought the naming rights. That place will be forever known as the Clamshell, no matter what they call it. Too bad it wasn't a baseball park for the Dodgers.
Sept. 29, 2010, 2:14 pm
orange julius from 11217 says:
http://imgur.com/DKklr.jpg
Sept. 29, 2010, 2:51 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Foliage? FOLIAGE??? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Seriously, that thing in the front looks like Bruce Rattners head, hair plugs and all. Why even bother?
Sept. 29, 2010, 5:21 pm
freddy from slope says:
freddy=cartoon troll.
Sept. 29, 2010, 5:30 pm
Ted from Boerum Hill says:
Just to keep history accurate, Ratner never had any financing in place to start any construction from the very start. The litigation delays actually bought him time to put together the little amount he was able to locate before selling to the Russian. Gehry was always just a bait and switch starchitect to try to raise money and was dumped as soon as possible.
Sept. 30, 2010, 6:09 am
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Nice switch there Ted from Boerum Hill. Yeah evil Ratner right! He tricked us all. He set up a plan, used a Starchitect, foresaw the obstructist litigation, eco-collapse, all until some Russian Billionaire come charge on a white horse, to give him some pocket change. His intent all along was to build this Alien-head. Maybe u r right the arena looks as ugly as Metro-Tech.
But U & your DDDB co-horts will wear this ugly arena as a badge along with Ratner.

It is true, u can become your enemy!! Woo-Hooo!
Sept. 30, 2010, 10:50 am
The Designer from East Egg says:
Why can't you people recogize my talent?
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:47 pm

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