Today the MTA board is expected to approve a deal to sell the naming rights to the sprawling subway terminal at Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in downtown Brooklyn to Barclays, the London-based bank that has also bought naming rights to the embattled Nets arena project, which might one day actually exist nearby. It's been five years since the MTA first welcomed proposals from corporations interested in buying station naming rights, and on Monday the authority quietly revealed that Barclays was the first taker, for $4 million, to be paid in yearly installments of $200,000 a year for 20 years, according to the Times.
When Barclays agreed to buy the naming rights for the Nets arena, the bank's slave trade history caused a bit of a stir and even a lawsuit. In reporting the news, Times reporter Michael Grynbaum sounds surprisingly confident that there "will, however, soon be a Barclays Center, the sports arena planned as the focal point of the Atlantic Yards project." Developer Bruce Ratner is hustling to break ground on the controversial project by the end of this year, the station name change is scheduled for the opening of the arena, timed for 2012.
The exact punctuation of the new station name is still T.B.D., but hyphens or slashes are likely to be used. Speaking to the Times yesterday, appropriately-named MTA board member John H. Banks III sought to preemptively defuse criticism of the sale, explaining, "It’s not like Taco Bell saying it wants Grand Army Plaza or something like that." But when asked if the MTA would oppose such a deal, he replied, "A year and a half ago? Yeah. Tomorrow? No." Perhaps speaking for all straphangers, commuter Nick Desio declared, "They can call it anything they want, as long as my train’s on time."