Two days before the official ground-breaking for the long-delayed Atlantic Yards megaproject, developer Bruce Ratner and the New Jersey Nets unveiled renderings of the interior of their planned Brooklyn basketball arena. After scrapping an original design by Frank Gehry over financial concerns and nixing a second design by the firm Ellerbe Becket after it was derided for being too dull, Ratner tapped Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects to draft up a new plan for the arena, which is dubbed the Barclays Center.

Though it's about 200,000 square feet smaller than Gehry's original arena, the Post reports that the new space will offer about 18,000 seats for basketball games and 19,000 seats for concerts, as well as 104 luxury suites going for as much as $540,000 per year. The arena's general manager says the space will boast sight lines "closer to the court and a more intimate fan experience," though NYU sports management professor Robert Boland claims the sight lines will be "no better" than the Izod Center in New Jersey where the Nets currently play. "The positive here is that there's a lot of lower-bowl seating, which makes this is a great place to see a concert and should help the Nets sell more tickets, but it appears there's too many seats behind the baskets that obstruct courtside views," said Boland, who gave the arena a grade of B-. NoLandGrab notes that the courtside seats appear to be built-in, meaning the arena couldn't be used for hockey.

After a judge gave state officials clearance to use eminent domain to evict Brooklynites who live in the project's footprint, Ratner announced that the groundbreaking for his $4.9 billion development will take place on Thursday. Opponents of the project—which also calls for 16 proposed skyscrapers on the border of Fort Greene and Prospect Heights—have promised to protest with their own "Groundbreaking to Bury the Soul of Brooklyn," which will feature three-foot tall bobbleheads figures depicting Ratner, Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Gov. Paterson, Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, and others. The demonstration will take place on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at Freddy's Bar, which is planned to be demolished to make way for the Atlantic Yards development.