The Nets will soon flee their New Jersey training facility for fairer shores.
Brooklyn’s home team is moving into the top floor of a waterfront warehouse in Sunset Park’s Industry City. The ball players will set up shop in the bustling manufacturing center alongside Makerbot’s three-dimensional printing operation and food-product factories, but instead of building gadgets and cooking up salsa, the Nets are going to try to build championships. The squad has spent its first two seasons as Kings County’s own practicing in New Jersey, and no players live in Brooklyn, but it is trying to become a bona fide borough operation.
“We are very excited to be 100 percent Brooklyn-based,” said Irina Pavlova, president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, owner of the Nets. “Now our arena, training center, and offices will be together in this great borough.”
Construction on the Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center — named for a hospital in Manhattan that treats injured Nets players — will begin this summer, and Pavlova said the team is expected to begin training there in time to train for the 2015-2016 basketball season. The Nets joined pols on Wednesday to tout the new facility, boasting that it will provide between 150 and 200 union construction jobs. The facility will provide 60 jobs for full-time Nets employees, including the players, they said.
One government official said that Sunset Park is the place to be these days.
“This really epitomizes what we want to see,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “A lot of people wrote off the entire Brooklyn waterfront, and now it really is one of the coolest parts of the city.”
Plans for the swanky new training center include two side-by-side basketball courts, a training pool, a rooftop lounge, an 18-seat theater, with what Nets corporate types call a “gritty manufacturing” aesthetic throughout.
“It’s basically everything you might need for a world-class, professional sports team — or a very nice spa vacation for that matter,” Pavlova said.
The home of the new facility is an active industrial building on 39th Street between First and Second Avenues.
Nets officials framed the construction of the training facility as a commitment to Sunset Park. The team will run job fairs in the neighborhood to recruit for positions with the Nets and Barclays Center, chief executive officer Brett Yormark said.
Despite the celebrations of a “100 percent Brooklyn-based” basketball club, questions linger about whether the team’s owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s plans to move the team’s corporate office to Moscow, as he proposed in March. A team spokeswoman declined to comment on that.