Creating Sports-Oriented Districts – Successes and Long-term viability

Creating Sports-Oriented Districts – Successes and Long-Term Viability

 On Friday, September 25, Herrick hosted the Urban Land Institute of New York (ULI) for a discussion on Sports-Oriented Districts. Speakers included:

  • Richard Browne, Managing Partner, Sterling Equities
  • Jim Lester, Senior Vice President of Commercial and Residential Development, Forest City Ratner Companies
  • Brad Mayne, President and CEO, Metlife Stadium

The panel was moderated by Bill Johnson, Designing Principal at HOK Sports, Recreation and Entertainment and the introduction to the panel was given by Mitch Korbey, Partner and Chair of Herrick’s Land Use & Zoning Group.

The panel focused on the concept of New York is as a home to the greatest concentration of professional sports teams in the country. These sports-districts’ successes and long-term viability are dependent on getting the right mix of uses, critical mass and the most valuable connection to the communities surrounding them.

Bill Johnson stressed the importance of establishing a vision but also of ensuring that a critical mass, correct mix and community connection was present when venturing into the planning and development of these districts.

Richard Browne spoke about the successes and challenges he has faced in the development of Citifield and the surrounding area.  As they continue to develop the area to serve the community beyond the stadium, Richard said, “It is important to create critical mass outside of baseball season.” Developers are now focused on building a one-million square-foot shopping mall near Citifield.

Jim Lester commented on the development of Barclays Center in Brooklyn, saying: “Four residential buildings are going up around Barclays, one of which is entirely affordable housing,” This serves the community well because of the $75 million transit hub that opens right by Barclays.” With the Islanders coming to Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum being completely revamped, opportunities to grow and develop these communities are becoming more commonplace. Nassau Coliseum will be an entertainment hub for the community, focusing the venue on family entertainment, concerts, boxing and even an indoor skydiving arena.

Brad Mayne spoke about a $38 million cleanup of industrial sites to develop areas in Victory Park, Dallas around the American Airlines Center. These massive cleanup efforts for development are what help to foster and build communities around these sports districts.  “Never stop searching for new opportunities.” said Mayne, who talked about the upcoming American Dream mall at the Meadowlands. The mall is projected to have an indoor water park, an ice rink and concert hall and amusement rides, and with tenants like Hermes signed on, this development will definitely draw new interest to this district.