The Nets falling to the Utah Jazz, 108-92, on Wednesday night for their 24th loss didn’t even register as a blip on the radar to owner Bruce Ratner. In fact, the Nets could lose 70 games this year and management won’t blink.
Why? Ratner and his Atlantic Yards project got a huge vote of confidence on Tuesday as investors purchased $511 million of tax-free bonds that will be used to finance his arena project.”The interest in the arena bond offering was beyond our expectations,” Ratner said in a statement. “Even more importantly, the overwhelming support from investors is a good sign of confidence in this project and in the city.The purchase of the bonds means the Nets are probably a few short months away from holding a ground-breaking ceremony for the project. No date has been set for it, but Ratner hopes to have the arena operational by the 2011. “Atlantic Yards is about the future of Brooklyn and the City, including the jobs, housing and excitement that the development will bring,” Ratner added. “The interest in Barclays Center bonds is really interest in New York and a strong statement of confidence for the project and the future of our City.” Ratner and the Nets didn’t get to where they are without a fight. Opponents of Ratner filed 24 lawsuits in an effort to slowdown and shutdown the project. The support of local politicians, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer certainly helped Ratner.Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital were co-underwriters for the deal. Naming rights to the arena -$400 million over 20 years- were purchased by Barclays.