A 70,000-square foot Sunset Park warehouse will undergo a major renovation, beginning this summer, to create a ‘spa-like environment’ for the players and, they hope, act as a selling point to potential free agents.
On the Sunset Park waterfront with a beautiful view of the city skyline, standing adjacent to its nearest place of business — a strip club called Peyton’s Playpen — is an empty warehouse that represents the Nets’ transformation to full-fledged Brooklynnites.
In about a year, they’re cutting their last significant tie to New Jersey.
Representatives of the team’s ownership, minus the overseas-stationed Mikhail Prokhorov, unveiled the plans Thursday for a new practice facility set to open for the 2015-16 season. The cost is roughly $50 million, according to sources, and the facility — including the basketball courts and amenities — will be built on the roof of the warehouse, occupying 70,000 square feet.
Construction is set to begin this summer, and the Nets are touting the finished product as a “harmonious, spa-like environment.” The Nets have come a long way since practicing at a truck stop in North Bergen, with Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson having to shower and share a locker room with the truckers.
The theme of Thursday’s press conference was the location in Industrial City, and GM Billy King worked in a dig at the Knicks by noting that the Nets will be the only team to have its practice facility within the city limits (the Knicks practice in Greenburgh). Coach Jason Kidd cracked that he won’t spill any sodas when it opens, before turning serious about the advantage in attracting free agents.
“You look at the tools that can help (in free agency),” Kidd said. “You look at the practice facility, you look at Barclays Center and what the franchise stands for — which is first class.”
The hope is that the location of the facility, which is just three miles from Barclays Center, will be more convenient for players and staff who are commuting over a tunnel and bridge to get from the current facility in East Rutherford to the home arena.
In the franchise’s first two seasons in Brooklyn, not one player lived in the outer borough. Most rented in New Jersey. The others resided in Manhattan.
“Absolutely, I think they will (start living in Brooklyn),” Pavlova said. “As I rule, I think players tend to live where they practice because it’s convenient.”
Second-year center Mason Plumlee is on board.
“I’m looking to move into Brooklyn once the facility is done,” he said. “I don’t see any reason to live in Manhattan.”
The Nets will remain practicing this season at the PNY Center in East Rutherford, which opened in 1998 and was briefly closed in 2012 because of flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.