SBD/July 25, 2013/Facilities

Madison Square Garden Needs To Relocate After Special Permit Extended Only 10 Years

City officials think 10 years is enough time for MSG to find a new location
The N.Y. City Council yesterday notified Madison Square Garden that it "has 10 years to vacate its 45-year-old premises and find a new home, the Garden’s fifth since it opened in 1879," according to Charles Bagli of the N.Y. TIMES. The Council voted 47-1 to "extend the Garden’s special operating permit for merely a decade -- not in perpetuity, as the owners of the Garden had requested, or 15 years," as N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration "had intended." Officials said that 10 years "should be enough time" for the Garden to find a new location and "for the city to devise plans for an expanded Pennsylvania Station, which currently sits below the Garden." City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, "This is the first step in finding a new home for Madison Square Garden and building a new Penn Station that is as great as New York and suitable for the 21st century. This is an opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world-class transportation destination." Quinn "renewed her call for the creation of a commission to devise the plans." MSG Exec Chair James Dolan "expects to complete this fall" a $968M overhaul of the Garden. Dolan in '08 announced the Garden's most recent upgrades, just after the last $14B effort to "move the Garden and transform the train station collapsed amid a severe recession, insufficient financing, an absence of political leadership and overreaching by the developers selected for the job" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/25). In N.Y., Erin Durkin notes since the City Planning Department "already approved the permit, the Council vote makes it final." The permit "does not need a signoff" from Bloomberg (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/25).
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