Developers of the controversial Barclays Center unveiled designs Tuesday of a public plaza that they hope will win over neighborhood residents. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Prospect Heights residents have had to get used to the construction zone, with sidewalks closed and traffic even more tied up than normal at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Developers say once the Barclays Center is complete in two years, there will be minimal traffic in the heavily congested area and also a spacious public plaza with views right into the Nets basketball arena.
"You look at plazas all over the world in front of great buildings and they're open plazas and they're great spaces for people to feel like they're entering and seeing a place so they're very welcoming," said Developer Bruce Ratner.
It's expected to be welcoming not only for those attending a game but also for shoppers and commuters. The plaza features a new exit from the Atlantic/Pacific Street subway station and the LIRR. Ratner's plans had called for an office tower at the location, but with the slow economy that's on hold. So for now, architects designed a plaza for community use.
"It could be a green market, it could be movie night, it could be a flea market, it could be art installations, it could be fashion shows. There's a wide range of things that could work here," said Architect Gregg Pasquarelli.
Designers at a Manhattan news conference Tuesday talked about the landscaping, with a planted green roof on the subway station, curved benches and a circular opening on part of the arena's roof that allows light to come in. It also features a display screen for games and other events.
"We tried to take the best of what we saw from around the world and bring it to Brooklyn," Pasquarelli said.
Most Brooklynites in the area who spoke with NY1 say they like the plaza plans.
"That'll create a lot more space over there in the area, I think it'll be a pretty good idea," said one Prospect Heights resident.
"It definitely connects the neighborhoods and it also builds tourism in Brooklyn," said another.
Still, others say despite the optimism of the traffic-free animation, it will just bring more crowds to an already crowded area.
"There's going to be some problems with those of us who live within the neighborhood. The traffic jams, you can hardly walk, traffic gets rerouted," said one Prospect Heights resident.
The architects will be presenting the plaza designs to the community Wednesday night at Brooklyn Borough Hall.