Standing outside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Bruce Ratner spoke proudly of the arena that was developed by his company, Forest City Ratner, of which he is executive chairman. The 675,000-square-foot complex, complete with a 19,000-seat concert hall, is the home of the Brooklyn Nets and will be home to the New York Islanders beginning in 2015. Its design, internally and externally, is the benchmark for how he wishes to transform the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Nassau Events Center LLC, a company headed by Bruce Ratner and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, was created in response to Nassau County’s Request-For-Proposal to seek developers to rebuild the 41-year-old Uniondale complex. It is one of four respondents, with the Madison Square Garden Company, and two Long Island-based groups in New York Sports and Entertainment LLC and Blumenfeld Development Group Ltd. County Executive Ed Mangano’s selection of a developer is expected to be made sometime this month.
On June 6, Ratner provided the Herald with a tour of the Barclays Center, to lend insight on how he intends to implement a similar plan to better Long Island if he were the selected developer.
The tour began in the Daily News Plaza in front of the arena, a 39,000-square-foot space featuring an entrance to the nearest subway station. “Almost all great buildings in the world have plazas that really define them,” said Ratner. “You don’t want to drive up and feel like you’re going to an ordinary place. You want to make it special.”
SHoP Architects, who designed both the plaza and the arena, would also spearhead the Coliseum renovations. A similar plaza would be constructed around Nassau Coliseum, according to Ratner’s plan.
Inside the Brooklyn arena, a spacious lobby led directly into the bowl seating and outer concourses. Ratner pointed out the importance of transparency, and street-level floors, which he plans to employ at the Coliseum. “So you feel like there is a connection between the outside and inside,” he said.