Bruce Ratner will officially break ground on his $1-billion Barclays Center on March 11, days after a crucial judicial ruling in his favor and slightly more than seven years after the project was first announced.
The ceremony in Prospect Heights will likely include Mayor Bloomberg and Atlantic Yards cheerleader-in-chief, Borough President Markowitz, wielding the ceremonial shovels.
If all goes as planned, the event will be the so-called “end of the beginning” of a project that was unveiled in 2003 and mired in delays and controversy since.
It was approved by the state in 2006, but has significantly changed since. Under the current plan, the arena and up to three buildings would be completed in the next few years — a big backtrack from the original 2016 completion date for the arena and all 16 residential, office and commercial buildings.
The project looked very much in doubt a year ago, but a series of favorable court rulings, a helpful renegotiation of the financing by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a major cash infusion from Russian billionaire — and soon-to-be Nets owner — Mikhail Prokhorov turned it all around.
If only the Nets would do the same. At press time, the team was 6-53 — still on pace to break the National Basketball Association’s all-time record for fewest wins in a season, a dubious distinction.