After years of controversy and a total redesign, Forest City Ratner Cos., the developer of the Atlantic Yards megadevelopment in Brooklyn, N.Y., says it expects to begin construction of the development's centerpiece, an arena for the NETS basketball team, later this year. Ratner "anticipates" opening the facility, called Barclays Center, for the 2011-12 basketball season.

Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn arena
Photo: SHoP Architects and Ellerbe Becket
Redesigned basketball arena in Brooklyn.

Ratner released renderings Sept. 10 of the redesign by Ellerbe Becket in collaboration with SHoP Architects. The original architect was Frank Gehry.

Under the new design, the 675,000-sq-ft arena is clad in weathered-steel and glass. The building mass consists of three separate but woven horizontal "bands," says the architect. The first engages the ground and includes a canopy, 30 ft above ground level, over a plaza. Above that, there is a glass band. The third band "floats" around the roof of the arena and varies in transparency. As designed, the arena will have 18,000 seats for basketball and up to 19,000 seats for concerts. There will be 100 suites; 40 loge boxes, six clubs and restaurants; and a practice facility.