THIS JUST IN! New Atlantic Yards arena designs are here!

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From “The Hangar” to … “The Waffle Iron”?

Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner unveiled stunning new designs for the proposed basketball arena at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues on Wednesday, renderings that strive to silence the outrage created in May when Ratner dumped Frank Gehry in favor of a Midwest architecture firm whose first effort, a hangar-like design, fell flat.

The new renderings of the $800-million arena are a collaboration between that firm, Ellerbe Becket, and a new partner, the New York–based boutique firm SHoP Architects.

“The Barclays Center will quickly become an iconic part of the Brooklyn landscape,” Ratner said in a statement issued on a Web site with the fresh renderings. “The design is elegant and intimate and also a bold architectural statement that will nicely complement the surrounding buildings and neighborho­ods.”

Of course, not everyone cheered the latest incarnation of the basketball arena. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the principal opposition group to the full Atlantic Yards mega-project, described the design as a “big eye ball at Atlantic and Flatbush.”

The group also pointed out that the arena renderings did not include any of the proposed 16 skyscrapers that splay out from the arena to Vanderbilt Avenue — though only two of those buildings, containing a small fraction of the promised 2,250 units of below-market-rate housing — are currently being developed.

“The arena design is irrelevant,” the group said in a statement. “All Ratner is able to show, six years since unveiling his mega-project proposal, is the sixth version of his arena design and nothing else. The previous five designs all failed, and this new one is likely to do the same.”

The developer does face significant challenges to getting his project built. Ratner must sell millions in bonds to raise capital before an end-of-year deadline. And next month, New York’s highest court will hear a challenge to the state’s use of eminent domain to clear land for his project.

But on Wednesday morning, Ratner was keeping the focus on the new design. The statement described it consisting of “three separate but woven bands.”

“The first engages the ground where the weathered steel exterior rises and lowers to create a sense of visual transparency, transitioning into a grand civic gesture that cantilevers out into a spectacular canopy at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

“The canopy, which is 30 feet above ground level, contains an oculus that frames the pedestrian’s view of the arena. The second, a glass band, allows for views from inside and outside of the arena. The third band floats around the roof of the Barclays Center and varies in transparency, the weathered steel creating backlit patterns.”

Gone is the soaring, glass-walled, cathedral-like “Urban Room” that was central to the original design by Gehry — whose inclusion in the project was one of its initial selling point. Instead, it is replaced with an open public plaza under a baseball-cap-like brim.

The arena was projected to cost around $450 million when it was unveiled in late 2003, but those costs skyrocketed to close to $1 billion until Gehry was fired in a cost-cutting move, Ratner said.

One architect not involved with the project said that the new design, at the very least, would be more sensitive to Brooklyn than Gehry’s plan.

“If SHoP can get Ratner to do the right thing — that’s a big ‘if’ — the project is actually in much better hands,” said Brendan Coburn, a DUMBO-based architect. “SHoP is a very, very, very good firm [that is] sensitive to the cost of construction. They are also committed New Yorkers — and I believe that several of the partners are Brooklynit­es.”

Borough President Markowitz, who is not an architect, was delighted by the new design.

“As I have said all along, Brooklyn is the greatest city in America,” the Beep said in a statement. “We’re ready to get back into professional sports’ big leagues, and this arena is going to make it happen.”

Markowitz said that the new design “delivers not only a luminous, iconic structure that celebrates Brooklyn’s industrial heritage with its steel and glass exterior, but one that harmonizes with the architecture of the surrounding neighborhoods and creates a welcoming environment for the public at street-level.”

The renderings and models will go on display publicly at Borough Hall on Monday, Sept. 14 — and there will be a public information session conducted by the Empire State Development Corporation, Ratner’s development partner, that evening.

Atlantic Yards renderings (starting at 10 am) and public information session (starting at 6 pm), Brooklyn Borough Hall [209 Joralemon St., between Adams and Court streets in Downtown, (800) 260-7313].

Updated 5:14 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated to include new comments.
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Reasonable discourse

sam from downtown says:
the headline is rather misleading: these aren't new "Altantic Yards designs" this is a new design for the arena. There appears to be no design for Atlantic Yards.
Sept. 9, 2009, 1:37 pm
Sam from Greenpoint says:
You wouldn't mean "hangar," would you?
Sept. 9, 2009, 4:23 pm
LS from Brooklyn says:
This PROPOSED arena looks exactly like my old George Foreman grill. I threw that out years ago. They should toss these plans out too! -LS
Sept. 9, 2009, 8:25 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Let's get it built! Brooklyn needs it. I want my basketball in Brooklyn not an empty lot with rats.
Go Nets! Go Ratner!
Sept. 9, 2009, 10:43 pm
judah spechal from bed-stuy says:
I think I'm going to be sick. Brin back Gehry
Sept. 10, 2009, 10:16 am
SID from Boerum Hill says:
I hate rust buildings. I think they always look like someone couldn't afford paint or sealer. They bleed and look miserable. I have yet to see ONE of them that I like. I also think the rendering looks like a closed cell phone with a bottle cap opener. Probably represents the sports bars that will open on Atlantic and Flatbush like near Madison Square Garden...anyone think that will be an enticing neighborhood.
You really need to give DDDB credit. They have done exactly what they intended to do which has been successful so far. You need to admire success when they clearly were the underdog fighting the Mayor, multiple Governors and the powers that be.
Sept. 10, 2009, 10:36 am
Rev. Fred from Fort Greene says:
This looks so different from the approved arena with its green roof with all the plants on it, and no urban room. It is hard to believe they are saying they can build something so completely different and try to get away with not having an environmental impact study that deals with the new design. This building will not improve air quality because it doesn't have hundreds of plants on its roof. But because the ESDC environmentally approved a building with all the plants we are told that it means that the building without the plants is approved, too? Huh?

What will be the environmental impact of this new building? Doesn't this have to be studied before it can be built? I thought it was a law or something. These people are soooooo evil. I don't trust them at all, especially after this move. They just want their money. Probably we will all get cancer from it. It looks like some medical machine. Reminds me of the hospital.
Sept. 10, 2009, 11:25 am
jonathan from prospect heights says:
it looks like my hp all-in-one printer/scanner/copier! what did they do, look around the office, see their hp printer and say let's make a big one of those?

how much is ink going to cost us for that thing? put it in the trash! it's not brooklyn compatible.
Sept. 10, 2009, 11:29 am
al pankin from downtown says:
the new design looks alot better than the hanger, if it wasn't for all the wasted lawsuits brooklyn could have had a fist class place by frank gehry, now we've got a second class arena...
Sept. 10, 2009, 10:56 pm
robert from canarsie says:
I think it looks great i cant wait for them to build this.Its amazing that people think that giantic whole in the ground with rats running around it and empty buildings are better than having a new sports arena.I drive past it every day and ive worked in the area for 14 yrs they need the arena.
Sept. 11, 2009, 6:11 pm
Lissette Drummond from Prospect Heights says:
Who cares at this point.... lets get something built already. and in a hurry. stop the nonsense. go plant a your garden and get on with your lives. an empty lot in the neighborhood is getting dangerous and looks like urban blight, lets not even mention the rats that scurry from that lot. build an arena and get on with it... build , build, build..... Lets get some good action in this neighborhood.
Sept. 11, 2009, 8 pm
Paul from Park Slope says:
What's dangerous, Ms. Drummond, is anyone who says "hurry up and let's do this" when it's just plain wrong. That attitude let this boondoggle get this far. And have you read the IBO report on how much money that could be going to schools and hospitals will go to Ratner, the man who created all the blight you're complaining about? Yeah, let's reward that. That's thinkin'!
Just wondering, but how do you feel about the "Community" Benefits Agreement? Just wondering...
Sept. 12, 2009, 10:11 am
Papa Dish from Park Slope says:
I am distressed that there are those of you who seem to be unmoved by the fact that this project cannot be built without forcibly removing people from their homes and property, ultimately for the profit of private business interests.

Or those who seem unaware of the fact, although well-covered in this newspaper, that there exists a thoughtful plan, the Unity Plan, which could develop the site without the use of eminent domain. This, of course, would also remove the blight (the empty lots, etc.) which was mostly caused by the Ratner when he removed well-built old industrial buildings which could have been redeveloped in a contemporary, thoughtful way.

Are there really so many among us who have such weak identities that they would condone stealing the property belonging to others just so they can be immersed in the identity of being a fan of a private sports business?
Sept. 16, 2009, 8:58 am

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