Sullivan: Seton Hall-Rutgers match isn’t pretty

I can’t wait for the day that metropolitan-area basketball is something that is very special. I think it’s going to take off when our programs collectively are really fighting for something. We’re building. When we’re fighting for something I think it will be meaningful for this area.

— Rutgers basketball coach, Fred Hill, following Tuesday’s Rutgers-Seton Hall game at the Rock

Star Ledger: First new hotel in Newark’…

Star Ledger: First new hotel in Newark’s downtown in 38 years will be built next to Prudential Center

A 150-room Courtyard by Marriott will begin rising later this year next to The Prudential Center marking the first new hotel in Newark’s downtown in nearly 40 years and signaling the strength of the 18,000-seat arena’s economic pull, officials said yesterday.

I work in NYC during the day with a view of Jersey City across the river. One thing these two cities have that I rarely see in Newark: cranes in the air. Where the NJPAC complex and Shaq buildings have been — what we in the technology refer to as — “vaporware”, it’s exciting to see another project in the works downtown.

Star Ledger: Deal to have NJ Nets play t…

Star Ledger: Deal to have NJ Nets play two years at Prudential Center days away from governor’s desk
We’re so close. My bet is that if the Nets play the next two years in Newark, and continue to see the fan base grow and rail use come up to levels we’re seeing with the Devils, that we might see them even back out of the Barclay’s Center in 2012.

The Nets played two preseason games on Oct. 13 and 21 at “The Rock,” and both were surprisingly successful, as roughly 28,000 tickets were sold with assistance from Mayor Cory Booker’s office.

The team was delighted, especially upon learning that 13 percent of its patrons used rail service to attend the games. In remarks about the Prudential Center weeks later, Yormark described the facility as “terrific,” with “great new amenities. The fans seem to really enjoy it.” And he was encouraged that there would be a “big concentration of fans from Essex, Middlesex and Union counties, which we don’t typically draw a lot from.”

The Nets plan to move to Brooklyn in 2012.

Nets Slowly Making Their Way to Brooklyn

With the collapse of support from financiers, the Atlantic Yards community, and NJ Nets fans, one wonders if this story will end in anything other than hubris: For Nets, Barriers to Brooklyn Fall Slowly.
After the hundreds of millions of dollars lost, and final completion for the arena now set for as late as 2011, the break-even point for this project has to be in the late 20-teens. I think a lot of people would love to see this project fail and the Nets come to Newark.

But, not all is lost: the Nets will play two pre-season games here in Newark in October. Who’s coming with me?

But Forest City must break ground by Dec. 31 to meet the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline to sell tax-exempt bonds. If the developer misses the deadline, financing costs will leap. “Bruce and I have never talked about missing that deadline,” Yormark said.

The same deadline appears to loom for the 20-year, $400 million naming-rights deal between the Nets and Barclays. Barclays extended the sponsorship beyond last year because of continued construction delays, but a spokesman refused to say if it would do so again.

Daniel Goldstein, a leader and spokesman of Develop Don’t Destroy, said he did not believe Forest City would meet the deadline, not with his group’s appeal of the eminent domain decision and intention to file more lawsuits to delay the project until its death.

“They’re not going to get financing this year or control of the land this year,” Goldstein said during an interview in his condominium on Pacific Street, which would be about midcourt of the proposed arena. He, his wife and baby daughter are the only occupants of the nine-story building, the other 30 unit owners having long ago accepted Ratner’s buyout offers.

“I don’t even think they know what will make them give up,” he said.

One also wonders if this guy was living where center ice at the Prudential Center is now whether Newark’s arena ever would have been built.

Shaq Wants to Bring the Nets to Newark

Steve Politi opines for the Star Ledger on the possibility of whether the Nets might ever come to Newark.
While idle speculation has been free-flowing since construction of the Prudential Center was completed, the prospect has caught the attention of real-estate developer and NBA phenomenon Shaquille O’Neal: Shaquille O’Neal may be the man to bring New Jersey Nets to the Prudential Center.

Why the Nets insist on moving forward on what seems to be a doomed project, abhored by fans and Brooklyn residents escapes all logic. Hopefully, Shaq can bring some much needed sanity and influence into the deal and convince the Nets to stay in their home state.

The question nags at Shaquille O’Neal every time he visits his home city now, the same way it should nag at every basketball fan in this state. He sees the gleaming Prudential Center in the heart of a community that loves his sport, then shakes his head in wonder and frustration.

“Why,” he wants to know, “aren’t the Nets playing in Newark?”

On this topic, like everyone else, Shaq is stumped. The Nets should be playing in Newark, and not just for a few lousy preseason games as the team is proposing. And the 7-footer could be a major force in making them — to borrow his favorite Scrabble word — a Shaqtastic success.

Pru Center Construction Receives Industry Kudos

Newark’s Prudential Center has been named Project of the Year by a trade magazne accoring to this NY Daily News briefing: The Closer: Disclosures, appraisals, flips and splits of New York’s real estate community
The city will also host its first championship boxing match in 60 years at the Rock this weekend.

Congratulations to the Gilbane Building Company and everyone associated with Newark’s Prudential Center arena, which was just named the 2008 Project of the Year by New York Construction News, a trade magazine covering the building industry. After a disagreement between two construction companies, Gilbane  took over the job a year and a half into the construction, miraculously delivering the project on time and on-budget to exact specifications.

The Gilbane family was out celebrating Tuesday night, with their annual center table at the Waldorf Astoria hotel for the National Football Foundation’s annual College Hall of Fame dinner, where T. Boone Pickens and Lou Holtz were honored. Gilbane Building, a five-generation construction and development company, has been building the country’s stadiums, hospitals, university buildings and large-scale public projects since 1873. The company is one of the largest builders of public schools in the nation, and it just completed the architecturally stunning Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

This weekend, the Prudential Center will hold Newark’s first championship boxing fight in 60 years. That’s a long time coming for a city on the rise whose downtown boxing scene was one of the best in the country in the 1940s.