Ratner is finally a man of steel as first girders go up

Ratner is finally a man of steel as first girders go up
Photo by Bess Adler

The first steel girders of the Barclays Center rose above the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues on Tuesday, a tangible sign that the future home of the Brooklyn Nets is moving forward.

“The installation of steel is always a major milestone for a construction project,” said Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner. “With the foundation work largely done, we are now poised to go vertical.”

One hundred tons of steel arrived at the site last week, a small portion of the 10,500 tons of the stuff that will be used in the arena.

The construction work is beginning on the event and main concourse level and will radiate eastward in a clockwise direction, the developer said.

He added that over the next few months, the arena would begin to “take on [its] iconic shape.” It is supposed to be completed by summer, 2012.

Project opponents were far less effusive about the work — particularly in light of a recent court ruling that found that the state agency overseeing the development withheld information to avoid having to examine the project’s negative impacts.

“We believe that they have no business going forward,” said Candace Carponter, the legal director for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, which has opposed the development. “They are rushing to get as much in the ground as they can before we seek a stay from the court.”

A residential building adjacent to the arena is in the planning phase, but the rest of the $4-billion project is on hiatus until, or if, the economy recovers.