Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner announced Thursday that his new Brooklyn arena would put 2,000 people to work once it opens this September, with a Jay-Z concert as its first event.
Ratner, flanked by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials outside the under-construction arena, said that the jobs would range from positions in food service to security to ticketing and that many would likely be unionized.
He admitted, however, that only 150 to 200 of the jobs would be full time, which some said they were disappointed to hear.
“Most of these positions … will do little to address the rising poverty in the borough,” Brooklyn City Councilmember Letitia James, an outspoken Ratner critic, said in a statement.
James also accused Ratner of not making enough construction jobs available to local residents, something she said the developer promised to do.
The 18,200-seat Barclays Center, at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues in downtown Brooklyn, will be home to the Brooklyn Nets, which played their last game in New Jersey on Monday.
The center is also expected to host about 180 other events a year, including concerts, college basketball tournaments, equestrian shows and the circus.
Bloomberg even implied that the arena might make a push for the Islanders ice hockey team once its lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015.
“This is an arena that was built to have hockey,” the mayor said. “The more teams in New York the better.”
A contentious past at the Barclays Center
The Barclays Center is just one phase of the Atlantic Yards project, a redevelopment plan for the 22-acre site, which includes an LIRR train yard. When Ratner’s vision for a sports arena and housing at the site was first introduced, it was met by substantial backlash from neighboring residents, and the project has been delayed by lawsuits and the economic downturn. According to Ratner, construction on the first residential units should begin either late this year or early next year.
Who needs Manhattan? Here’s a schedule of upcoming events this year once Barclays opens:
1. Sept. 28 Jay-Z will perform there. The rapper is a minority owner of the new Brooklyn Nets; Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is principal owner
2. Oct. 2 Islanders vs. Devils NHL game
3. Oct. 22 Rock band Rush performs
4. Nov. 16-17 Preseason college basketball tournament
5. Nov. 27-Dec. 2 Disney on Ice, figure skating show