Featuring star power and street cred, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Barclays Center Arena – for better or worse – opened up a new era in the borough’s development.
The 22-acre project will have thousands of units of market-rate and affordable housing and the arena will house the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA.
“This is a big day for Brooklyn. A long time coming, actually 53 years,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz, referring to when Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers left the borough for Los Angeles.
“I’m looking forward to a new city center being created here with the Barclays Arena and Brooklyn back in national major league sports. It’s an exciting rejuvenation and frankly we deserve it,” he added.
The event also featured some news, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city secured a commitment from developer Bruce Ratner that at least 50 percent of the units in the first residential building will be affordable.
The residential building, which will start in the summer, 2011, will be one of three constructed during the first phase of the project.
Ratner said when the Atlantic Yards project was first announced in 2003, it was anticipated to create a buzz and excitement for the borough and the city, as well as needed jobs and affordable housing.
“We did not at the time appreciate that Atlantic Yards would be such an important economic engine. The fact that we can start construction in this financial environment is testament to the lasting appeal of New York City,” said Ratner.
“We are a city that continues to grow and prosper and Atlantic Yards will for many years stand as a reminder that we can build and create jobs and homes and dreams even during the most difficult of economic times. We will work closely with the community to ensure that construction progresses efficiently and with minimum impact on the surrounding communities,” he added.