Ratner discussed how his architects planned an urban theme for the Barclays Center, to embrace its Brooklyn roots. The majority of the arena’s employees, he said, are also from Brooklyn. He said he would do the same on Long Island, envisioning a beach-themed Coliseum exterior, including sand-colored walls to resemble beach fences, a curvy design reminiscent of ocean waves, and grassy dunes situated in the plaza. “We are experts at exterior curtain wall,” said Ratner, who has led more than 40 projects in the last 25 years, including the New York Times building in midtown Manhattan, and an entertainment complex on 42nd Street.
Since a renovated Coliseum would be geared toward entertainment, Ratner said the building’s interior would have a “theatrical feel,” focusing on a juxtaposition of light and dark colors.
His plan calls for a condensed, more intimate 13,000-seat arena bowl, with the ability to scale down to 4,000-8,000 sets for smaller events. ‘You’ve got to have people feel like they’re home,” said Ratner. “Like they’re in their living room, and not their garage.”
Ratner said it would take about 15 to 18 months to complete renovations of the Coliseum, in which his company is committing $89 million.
During that time, an entertainment district would also be created, including a 2,500-seat outdoor amphitheater, a separate 2,000-seat theater, a 10- to 12-screen movie theater, restaurants and retail shops. The development of these projects would cost approximately $140 million. The plan draws similarities to Atlantic Yards, a mixed-use commercial and residential development, also developed by Forest City Ratner, adjacent to the Barclays Center.
The estimated total cost of the entire project is $229 million.
Family shows and entertainment
“I’m very family oriented,” said Ratner. “I’m very oriented towards making sure things are everybody.”