NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The plan to play NBA basketball in Brooklyn took a big step forward Friday when the sale of the New Jersey Nets was formally approved.
Developer Bruce Ratner made the purchase on Wednesday. YankeeNets, the holding company that owns the Nets and New York Yankees, agreed to go ahead with the sale.
"It's overwhelming," Ratner said. "It's a great day for Brooklyn. It's a great day for the region. It's a great day for the state. I'm so glad to be part of it."
Ratner's offer when the bidding began last year reportedly was $300 million. His plan is to relocate the team as soon as 2006, when construction of a new arena in downtown Brooklyn would be finished as the first phase of a huge project that could take 10 years to complete.
A long list of government approvals will be necessary before the new facility is built and the sale will require the approval of three-quarters of the other NBA owners.