Arena Design Expert Michael Hallmark Joins Forest City Ratner Companies
of Frank Gehry-designed arena for Brooklyn
Brooklyn, NY (May 23, 2005) -- Forest City Ratner Companies has named Michael Hallmark, the nationally recognized arena design and development expert, as Director of Arena Development for the planned arena in Brooklyn, it was announced today by Bruce Ratner, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC). The arena, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, is to be the new home of the Nets and is scheduled to be completed in 2008.
Hallmark will help direct the Gehry design team and will work closely with the Nets in the creation of many of the arena’s unique characteristics and accessible features for fans.
“Michael is the most innovative and successful arena designer in the field,” said Bruce Ratner. “He has established himself as a leader in trend-setting arena development worldwide. Michael’s experience and deep understanding of sports arenas will help the Brooklyn Arena become one of the premier facilities in the world.”
The 800,000 square-foot facility, which will be developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, is envisioned as the focal point of Brooklyn Atlantic Yards, an urban complex of housing, commercial and retail space. In addition to serving as a professional sports complex and an international entertainment destination, the arena is expected to become an integral part of the local community, hosting local sporting events, concerts, family entertainment, and corporate and special events.
Prior to joining FCRC, Hallmark was a successful architect, designing an array of sports projects until 1999 with the opening of Staples Center Arena in Los Angeles. Since then, he has worked directly with sports franchise owners as a development consultant on various projects. In 2004, he was named by Sports Business Journal as one of the nation’s “20 most influential persons in Sports Facility design, architecture and development.” Hallmark was hired by Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo in 2000 as a development director on the recently completed $70 million expansion of America West Arena. The project has met with critical acclaim by both civic leaders and patrons.
As an architect, he was one of the principals most responsible for defining the new era of modern arena development across the country, first as a founder of Ellerbe Becket Sports in 1988, then as director of NBBJ Sports and Entertainment in Los Angeles. His projects have included some of the country’s leading sports facilities including Staples Center, America West Arena and Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Safeco Field in Seattle, Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Fleet Center in Boston, and MCI Center in Washington DC, as well as renovations to Madison Square Garden in the early 1990’s.