Not so fast
Nets might stay in N.J. until 2010
Friday, February 10, 2006
BY MATTHEW FUTTERMAN
With delays mounting for their proposed arena in Brooklyn, the Nets and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority are now in serious negotiations to keep the team at Continental Airlines Arena through the end of the decade.
Officials involved with negotiations for a new lease for the Nets said the agreement would last at least through the 2010 season with options to continue playing at the arena as long as the Nets need to be there. If the parties reach an agreement on a new lease it would replace the current lease, which is set to expire in 2008.
When Bruce Ratner purchased the Nets in 2004, he had hoped to move the team into a new arena in downtown Brooklyn just months after the current lease at Continental Airlines Arena expired.
However, the Brooklyn arena remains a controversial project whose costs grow with each delay. That arena, which at a cost of nearly $600 million would be the most expensive ever built, is now the subject of a lawsuit filed by a community group that opposes it. In addition, the arena and Ratner's planned development of roughly 5,000 apartments surrounding the building have become bogged down in New York's complicated land use approval process.
Zoffinger's attempt to keep the Nets for several more years sets up a potential battle between Continental Airlines Arena and the new Devils arena in Newark. The Devils arena is under construction and scheduled to open in October 2007.
Devils executives had calculated that shortly after their building opened, the Nets would move to Brooklyn, and the state would have little reason to subsidize operations at an arena in the Meadowlands with no major professional sports teams.
The state would then opt to close Continental Airlines Arena, and the Devils arena in Newark would become the home of New Jersey's top concerts and family shows. However, the longer the Nets remain at Continental Airlines Arena, the more time the Devils arena must spend competing with it for the concerts and family shows.
The Nets should have moved in with the Devils and left Brooklyn alone. Those lawsuits will take years to play out and Spitzer will be far less likely to cough up money for this.
posted by Steve @ 12:59:00 AM