Prudential Center For Sale

As if the off-season for the Devils couldn’t get any more interesting.

Earlier this summer, I posted up some info on the Devils vs. City of Newark. Now, the City of Newark is selling Prudential Center. (Terrence Dopp) reports:

Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, may consider selling its three-year-old Prudential Center arena to close a $150 million deficit, the council vice president said.

The $375 million venue, the home of the New Jersey Devils National Hockey League team, is owned by the city’s housing authority. It sits adjacent to City Hall, two blocks from Newark Penn Station, a major New Jersey Transit rail hub.

Council Vice President Luis Quintana, who has served on the body since 1994, said a sale of the 18,000-seat facility may bring the city at least $200 million. The arena currently doesn’t pay taxes or water fees, and transferring it to private ownership would also allow Newark to collect both, he said.

“We’re not getting anything from it anyway,” Quintana said today in a telephone interview. “So anything we can get would be good. If we could get $200 million, I’d be happy.”

Quintana said no potential buyers have been indentified and said he expects strong interest in the arena at that price.

Council members are currently seeking potential spending cuts and new sources of revenue after they rejected Mayor Cory Booker’s plan to borrow against the city’s water system to plug the deficit. The mayor had said his proposal was the only way to prevent police and firefighter layoffs and a property-tax increase of as much as 35 percent.

Booker, a 41-year-old Democrat in his second term, had said as many as 350 police and firefighters, as well as 600 other city employees, may be fired to help close a $150 million gap in his un-passed $600 million budget for the current year. He said in July he also plans to put city government on a four-day workweek and cut back on all non-essential spending, including “everything from toilet paper to printer paper.”

Newark, a city of 280,000 about 13 miles (21 kilometers) west of New York City, had its credit outlook on $500 million in outstanding debt cut to negative on June 2 by Moody’s Investors Service. It lost about $120 million in funding from the state and Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

WOW, right? Almost 1,000 city employees could lose their job if Prudential Center is not sold.

Not looking good for the Devils. Maybe the Nets owner can buy the arena and put the Nets at Pru Center permanently. Not so sure the Devils have the money to buy the arena outright.

Just one more log to throw onto the fire. Big problems in Newark for the City and the Devils.

Recession not kicking ass? Think again.

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