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Back in the U-S-S-Yards: Russian Comes to Conquer Brooklyn

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With speculation on Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov's potential investment in the Nets and Barclays Center arena at Brooklyn's controversial Atlantic Yards megaproject growing?and kicked into overdrive when Prokhorov blogged about the matter?developer Forest City Ratner has issued a press release confirming the negotiations and outlining the potential deal:

Forest City Ratner Companies (“FCRC”), Nets Sports and Entertainment (“NSE”) and Onexim Group announced today that they have signed a letter of intent to create a strategic partnership for the development of the Atlantic Yards Project, a 22-acre residential and commercial real estate project in Brooklyn and the Barclays Center, the future home for the NBA's Nets. This partnership will ensure the successful completion of a world-class entertainment venue in Brooklyn, the relocation of the NBA Nets basketball team and the economic and housing benefits of the Atlantic Yards Project.

In accordance with the agreement, entities to be formed by Onexim Group will invest $200 million and make certain contingent funding commitments to acquire 45% of the arena project and 80% of the NBA team, and the right to purchase up to 20% of the Atlantic Yards Development Company, which will develop the non-arena real estate.

Bruce Ratner, the Chairman and CEO of FCRC, said, “Mikhail and Onexim will be great partners for this project. I am thrilled that smart global investors appreciate the exciting economic potential of Brooklyn. We are one step closer to achieving our goals of creating much needed jobs and economic development for Brooklyn and the city.” Mikhail Prokhorov, President of Onexim Group, said “We are delighted to join in this exciting project and to participate in the landmark development of global sports in this entertainment arena in the heart of New York City. I have a long-standing passion for basketball and pursuing interests that forward the development of the sport in Russia. I look forward to becoming a member of the NBA and working with Bruce and his talented team to bring the Nets to Brooklyn.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "We are looking forward to the Nets' move to a state-of-the-art facility in Brooklyn, with its rich sports heritage. Interest in basketball and the NBA is growing rapidly on a global basis and we are especially encouraged by Mr. Prokhorov's commitment to the Nets and the opportunity it presents to continue the growth of basketball in Russia."

As a Curbed commenter wrote yesterday, once NBA overlord David Stern blesses it, it's good to go. Prospect Heights: Welcome to your future, comrades.
· Atlantic Yards coverage [Curbed] UPDATE: No doubt hopped up on Red Bull mixed with searing rage, anti-Atlantic Yards group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn has already unleashed a blistering attack on the deal, including an exploration of Prokhorov's possibly shady past. Oh no they didn't!

Barclays Center

Atlantic Avenue at Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY