MSG's Ratner Says Arena Project Is A "Transformation" Not A "Renovation"
Madison Square Garden President & CEO Hank Ratner said that the arena is undergoing a "transformation," not a "renovation," according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. MSG employees "have learned that the hard way." Those who "mess up are requested to pay modestly for their sin." Ratner said of the penalty for misspeaking, "There is a friendly, benevolent suggestion. There's no requirement. They can voluntarily make a donation to the Garden of Dreams Foundation." He said that the donation "can be as little as $5, and 'it doesn't happen often' anymore." Best notes two years into the project, the "only thing about the previous Garden that is fully recognizable from inside is the ceiling." Next summer, the "final touches will include a new scoreboard, new lobby and ... a pair of 'bridges' that will allow fans to watch from spans suspended above the upper seating bowl." Ratner said, "Renovate has a certain connotation, that you're sort of fixing a place up." He said that the arena's overhaul is "expected to cost about" $1B, and the motivation for the project was "internal and not a reaction to the new arenas and stadiums that have sprouted around the area since 2007." Best notes fans "generally seem pleased" with the changes. Ratner said, "Part of the transformation was our ability to tell its story throughout the building, not to go create a little Hall of Fame room somewhere." As the project has "unfolded, there have been no grand re-opening ceremonies." That will "wait until after Phase III next summer" (NEWSDAY, 11/20).