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Barclays Center opens, transforming Brooklyn

Posted on by Ingram Hebron

Ratner overcame court challenges, recession to build $1 billion arena

By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Friday morning, a day came that some people thought would never happen – the ribbon was cut to the new Barclays Center on Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Not only will the arena host Brooklyn’s first major sports team since 1957, the Brooklyn Nets, it will present world-class entertainment with Andrea Bocelli, Bob Dylan, the Who, Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand, Disney on Ice and more.

The speeches before the ribbon-cutting were almost like a love fest, with Bruce Ratner, Mikhail Prokhorov, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President Marty Markowitz and others praising each other.

Behind it all was the sense that this was not just a big day for the Nets, it was a big day for all of Brooklyn.

Ratner said that it was not him who was responsible for the arena, it was the collective “we” – he and his associates. With their help, he said, he was able to buy a basketball team, get through the court challenges, get financing, weather the recession, pick the right architects, and more.

He mentioned that the arena created roughly 1,000 construction jobs, and out of the approximately 1,700 permanent jobs it has created, 1,300 are held by Brooklyn residents. The majority of these people, he said, got their jobs through the city’s Workforce 1 centers.

All in all, he said, the arena is poised to generate $406 million through Nets games, concerts and other events.

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