Barclays Center Subway Stop: Mornings, It's Totally Dead

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 02:54 PM

When the NY MTA agreed to sell the Atlantic Yards to Forest City Ratner to build the Barclays Arena and some 17 other buildings, the authority's board waxed enthusiastic about how the city was getting a new subway entrance out of the deal.

Barclays Center Subway Stop, 7 am Photo: Maya Bernstein

But so far, in the mornings, it's totally dead.

Pretty much every morning since the stop's been opened, for about three weeks -- and we've checked --  it looks like this. Seven am, 8 am, no one. A sort of strange, post-Apocalypse feel.

Barclays Center Subway Stop, 7 am Photo: Maya Bernstein

As we've been reporting, lots of fans are going to events at the arena by transit.  The 18,000-seat arena has just 541 car spots on site, about 150 of those for season or VIP ticket-holders.   Even last night, when Brooklyn-born Barbra Steisand performed, and drew a heavy crowd from the suburbs, people took the train.

Barclays Center Subway Pre-Barbra Photo: Andrea Bernstein

The subway stop is set in a vast, uninviting plaza, with not much there to entice a morning subway rider, like newsstands or coffee-shops.

However, once you do cross Flatbush Avenue from Park Slope to get there, it is by far the cleanest and easiest way to enter the subway stop. Working escalators. Plenty of turnstiles. Tidy, well-lit hallways that don't smell (yet). And the shortest, least confusing ascent (or descent, in the case of the B-Q), from any entrance.

Word from transit officials:  "Use It!"

Ratner, BTW, paid $76 million for the new subway entrance.  But the whole deal with Ratner was heavily criticized at the time as a sweetheart deal for the developer, which was allowed to work with the MTA over a period of years to develop a bid to obtain the railyards for its arena.

Ratner offered $100 million less for the Yards than the rival developer -- but the MTA board argued that building a new subway entrance would in part compensate.

After much pressure, the MTA opened the bidding process for the rail yards to other developers, but then rejected the one other bid it got because it wasn't as detailed as Ratner's bid.



Comments [3]

Shabazz Stuart

I wouldn't call the plaza uninviting, the plaza itself is pretty crowded during the day. But why would people use that entrance weekday mornings.

When the towers are built in the coming years, they'll be more people using the exit.

Oct. 15 2012 02:13 PM
Norman Oder

I'm sure it sounds persnickety, but do note that the MTA didn't "agree to sell the Atlantic Yards" to Forest City Ratner.

"Atlantic Yards" is a marketing term used by Forest City for a 22-acre real estate project that includes an 8.5-acre railyard. That railyard is formally termed the Vanderbilt Yard and sometimes described as the Atlantic railyards.

The danger of the conflation is that it suggests that the entire project site is an underutilized railyard that Ratner bought, rather than a mixed site that included private property and public streets.

More here:

Norman Oder / Atlantic Yards Report

Oct. 13 2012 07:45 AM
Norman Oder

The one other bid the MTA got wasn't as detailed because, understandably, the bidder had less time to develop it. That bidder, Extell, actually offered $150 million in cash, compared to Ratner's $50 million.

The MTA deemed Ratner's bid more valuable even then, given ancillary benefits (including the arena), and proceeded to negotiate solely with Ratner, rather than ask both bidders to increase their bids. Ratner then pledged $100 million.

Four years later, Ratner renegotiated, putting down $20 million, with 22 years to pay for the the rest (at a gentle interest rate), and building a smaller replacement railyard than promised.

The MTA, controlled by political appointees, agreed this was the best they could do. Actually, given Ratner's desperation to get tax-exempt bonds issued by the end of 2009, was in the weaker negotiating position.

More here:

Norman Oder / Atlantic Yards Report

Oct. 13 2012 07:14 AM

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