Five elected officials representing the Barclays Center area or nearby neighborhoods are demanding the state oppose the sale of both the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets to Russian Oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov until assurances are made that the community benefits agreement that was forged prior to construction of the arena are preserved, Kings County Politics has learned.
The lawmakers involved are Assembly Members Walter T. Mosley, James Brennan and Jo Anne Simon, State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery and City Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Mosley, Montgomery and Cumbo all represent the Southern tip of Downtown Brooklyn/Prospect Heights where the arena is located. Simon represents adjacent Boerum Hill and Brennan represents nearby Park Slope.
In a letter that will be sent to Empire State Development Corporation CEO Howard Zemsky the lawmakers noted the terms of the deal between the project’s developer, Bruce Ratner, the principle of Forest City Enterprises and Prokhorov remain unknown to the public and it’s believed that the National Basketball Association may be one of the only entities reviewing the terms before the deal closes.
“We strongly urge the Empire State Development Corporation (“ESD”) to review the terms and oppose of any such sale until assurances are made that the community benefits promised by Forest City Enterprises will be preserved. We ask that any such sale be subject to a fair, open, and timely public review. Public comment should be accepted and evaluated prior to ESD making any decision regarding the finalization of this sale,” wrote the lawmakers in the draft letter.
“We also request that if the sale is a proved the new owners be legally committed to being responsive to the community with regards to the impact of arena related events and be able to Response in real time to the public’s complaints about arena-related illegal parking, intersection delay, lighting, hygiene, noise, etc. by maintaining and enhancing the integration of response into both existing and planned oversight structure like the AYCDC. Complaints and their responses are to be logged in a transparent and open way in order to facilitate dialogue about improvements with the adversely impacted community,” the letter adds.
Responses from Forest City Enterprises and Prokhorov’s ONEXIM Group were not available at post time.
The letter comes less than two weeks after Bloomberg News published a report indicating that Forest City Enterprises has reached an agreement with Mikhail Prokhorov, of the ONEXIM Group, for the sole interest in the Barclay Center and the Brooklyn Nets.
Prokhorov already owns 80% of the Brooklyn Nets and 45% of the Barclay Center.