Barclay’s Center is Just the Beginning

Ongoing concerns about Barclays Center’s overall impact on surrounding borough neighborhoods—including Brooklyn Heights—could rise from a low roar to a full-on battle cry, given the mammoth long-term plan that developer Bruce Ratner has in mind for the area. Located at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, Barclays is merely the first part to be completed of a planned 16-building complex that would include 6 million square feet of residential, 247,000 of retail and 336,000 of office space.

In a lengthy story about the Atlantic Yards development, The Architects Newspaper reports that the as yet tallest modular construction building in the world—a 32-story residential tower—is slated to add to the Brooklyn skyline. An office building and possibly a hotel would round out the first phase of development, followed by eleven more residential buildings, eight acres of open space, and retail.

Related: Opening Night at the Barclays Center

Ironically, it was NYC planner Robert Moses who first pooh-poohed the idea of a stadium near the space now occupied by Barclays Center, back in 1955. Responding to Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley’s proposal to build a new home for the Dodgers on the site of what is now the Atlantic Center Mall, Moses said, “I don’t want to see a baseball field in downtown Brooklyn at all. The streets will never handle all the cars. (A) stadium would create a China Wall of traffic.” Much more, including more photos, here.

How did we get there from here? Read the Atlantic Yards Report’s definitive primer on the area’s development.

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  • Norman Oder

    Actually, no such thing as “Atlantic Yards” in 1955. O’Malley wanted to build across the street, at what’s now the Atlantic Center mall.


  • Hicks St Guy

    “a 32 story building to change the skyline forever”. just 32 stories, perhaps a little over-reaction? please.

  • Boerum Bill

    As long as the architecture melds seamlessly with the Billyburgh Bank Building! (yeah, right)

  • stuart

    I think the Barclay Arena is stunning. It’s really a beautiful building. If only all our new architecture was so good. Especially along Fourth Avenue.

  • Quinn Raymond

    The rest of the development, if properly balanced and built with private funds, is fine in theory. A major transit hub is exactly where you want to do that kind of high-density development.

    The Barclays Center on the other hand was a disastrous use of public funds, land, and eminent domain.

  • David on Middagh

    Can you believe that, in order to usurp the land, they called the area “blighted”, and then when putting up the arena they went with a rust theme?

    My mind is just blown.

  • resident

    Isn’t Norman Oder’s complaints about the dodgers proposed stadium and Barclay’s Center not being the “same site” just semantics? If you follow his link, you see the O’Malley proposal where Atlantic Center is, you also see the B.P. proposal of one block south of Barclay’s Center. So the dodgers proposed site was both one block north and one block south of the Barclay’s center, yet he takes umbrage with calling it “the same.” Seems sort of silly.

    I agree with Quinn Raymond, mostly, complain all you want about the use of public financing for the arena, but residential/commercial development absolutely should be dense when it’s centered around a transportation hub as great as that which can be found at Atlantic Yards.

  • Daniel Goldstein

    The non arena portion of the project has used eminent domain, has and will use public funds. As for density, sure density at a transit hub…but how much is too dense and can the infrastructure and services work with roughly 15,000 or so new residents should Ratner ever fulfill his commitments…a big should.

  • Daniel Goldstein

    oh, as for Norman Oder and other’s clarifying the placement. If it is not the same site, as it is not, why say it IS the same site?

  • Jazz

    @daniel – man sh!t just got real. However until you give some the fat wallet you copped from our pockets to charity I suggest you stfu . I suggest you start here :

  • Jazz
  • stuart

    notable modern voices such as Harvard economist Edward Glaeser believe that low-density historic districts such as Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill located near transit hubs are stifling the natural development of the modern city and benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle. He believes brownstones are an inefficient use of valuable urban geography and should be replaces with high-rise buildings that can house many more people for a fraction of the cost of a private house. There are many intelligent people in the country who agree and who believe that low-rise historic districts do not belong in areas that are well served by public transportation. This is the modern debate, not whether new high-density development and entertainment venues should be built on vacant land on top of transit hubs. Everyone agrees that is the ideal.
    The Barclay Center and the future towers are being proposed in the most logical location. Brownstone lovers should save their powder to protect actual brownstone neighborhoods that are currently under attack by the best and brightest as well as by powerful real estate interests. One should chose one’s battles.

  • Clampdown

    Gigantic rusted toilet bowl. Yep, it sure is something.

    And, Jazz, GFY!

  • David Fuller

    I personaly love the design of the Center and I personally deplore any couched off color remarks on this blog. If you have to curse to get your point across, perhaps your point is dull…

  • Mr. Crusty

    I love the design of the Center as well but others will disagree.

  • resident

    @Daniel: No, the site’s aren’t the “same” but for all intents and purposes, they are. The Dodgers proposed site was at Flatbush and Atlantic. The Barclay’s Center is at Flatbush and Atlantic. Getting bent out of shape about the sites being on different corners of that intersection is like being mad that someone says Shea and Citi field are at the same site, because, you know, Citi Field was built across the parking lot from Shea. Or getting upset about someone claiming that new and old yankee stadium are at the same site since the new was built in an existing park next door.

  • Still Here

    How did Propsect Heights fare traffic and parking-wise during the big concerts at BC?

    There was great concern over this.

    BTW, I like the rusty toilet bowl analogy, as much as I liked the analogy that the TWA terminal at Idlewild(JFK) looked like Rodan about to take off. Still like both buildings. Provocative yes, boring, no.

  • BH’er

    just build it already…

    yes, brownstones limit the population and the ‘historic’ districting and ‘tall building’ zone or whatever they put up earlier this year will continue to ‘favor the wealthy’

    seems surprising, as more development, people and demand would only seem to drive up property values, but I suppose it’s better to keep prices down until you’re ready to sell?

    anyway, the EV just claimed a historic zone, so the idea is spreading, but hopefully, Brooklyn will continue it’s ascent at a controlled pace

    only down side is that it’s popularity poses a risk to it’s character

    i’m sure we’ll be just fine

    and, the Barc is awesome – great venue and no major issues on opening night