The first anniversary of Barclays Center is September 28 and Denis Hamill of the Daily News, a native Brooklyn, gets a head start on the celebration with an interview of Bruce Ratner, who pushed for the arena as the anchor of his much bigger Atlantic Yards project.
The billion dollar arena's success has even surprised Ratner, whose group owns 55 percent of the arena and 20 percent of the Nets, who are in the second year of a 37-year lease at the arena.
"Look, there was a void in Brooklyn," the 68-year-old Ratner tells Hamil. "This arena has helped fill it. It has enriched Brooklyn. And we’re just getting started."
He happily ticks off the arena's accomplishment: It's the nation's top grossing concert venue; 26 of the Nets' 44 home games were sold out -- and more are likely this year; one-third of the arena employees are from nearby housing projects; traffic and congestion fears didn't materialize and the 2015 arrival of the Islanders.
As for the promised housing, he notes the first of Atlantic Yards 16 apartment towers will be completed next year -- and each of them will be modular, bringing a new business to Brooklyn.
Ratner took a few gentle swipes at his opponents, but added, ""I regret that maybe I could have personally met with some of the people who so passionately opposed us. Time will help. I think a lot of the people who opposed us are starting to like the arena now. I think their kids will. I sure hope so, because this is not just a building. It’s now a part of Brooklyn life."
- Bruce Ratner’s Barclays Center is a hit after first year - Denis Hamill - New York Daily News