One of the staples of major sports venue construction is the “topping off” ceremony – almost as much so as the “shovels-and-hard-hats” groundbreaking event that formally kicks off construction. I’ve been to plenty of these in the last decade in this metropolitan area – heck, even dormant Meadowlands Xanadu had a topping off ceremony for its parking garage (back in 2005, when that entertainment and retail project was supposed to open a mere two years later).Whatever reason, I suspect, is that they didn't want to answer questions about how the schedule has slipped, with a very tight deadline to finish site work before the first Jay-Z concert in September, and what the plan is to ensure that the exterior cladding, produced by closed-and-reopened ASI Limited, would get done.
But for whatever reason, Forest City Ratner celebrated the Barclays Center’s topping off on Thursday with a mere press release.
Brennan points to a cautionary tale across the river:
The Nets will just have to hope that they don’t run into similar deadline challenges to the Devils when they opened the Prudential Center in 2007. The team had to play its first nine games of the 2007-08 season on the road, and when it did open, many of the upper-level seats were suitable only for the sub-200 pound crowd – a dwindling demographic in the U.S. in recent years. The Devils eventually settled a lawsuit with the seating company for undisclosed terms.The press release
Here's the press release:
FOREST CITY RATNER COMPANIES, HUNT CONSTRUCTION GROUP, INC. AND MORE THAN 500 WORKERS CELEBRATE TOPPING OUT OF BARCLAYS CENTER
Thursday, December 2, 2011
BROOKLYN, NY – Forest City Ratner Companies, Hunt Construction Group, Inc., Banker Steel, J.F. Stearns Company, Onexim Sports & Entertainment, and NETS Basketball celebrated the topping out of Barclays Center in a ceremony today at the arena site in Brooklyn.
The event marked the significant milestone of the completion of the 10,400 pounds of structural steel for Barclays Center, the major sports and entertainment venue opening at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in September 2012. Erection of steel commenced in November 2010.
Forest City Ratner Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, the arena developer, visited Barclays Center today and congratulated the more than 500 workers on their momentous achievement.
"From Day One, I said I want to develop great things that create jobs, and that's what we're doing by building this spectacular arena," said Mr. Ratner. "In just eight months we will open Barclays Center and bring many exciting events here, where your hard work will be appreciated by millions of people for years to come. I can't thank you enough for your dedication. And, most importantly, it's all union, union, union as we continue to build important projects for the city and the state."
"Hunt Construction wants to thank Forest City Ratner Companies and NETS Basketball for the opportunity to participate on this landmark project," said H. Mark Gladden, Project Executive for Hunt Construction Group, Inc. "We also congratulate our partners Banker Steel, J.F. Stearns Company and Ironworkers Local 361 in topping out the Barclays Center steel framing. We look forward to the grand opening and ribbon cutting this fall!"
The NETS thanked the workers by providing 1,000 tickets to upcoming weekend games, and Hunt Construction provided the workers with celebratory Barclays Center Topping Out long-sleeve t-shirts.