MSG Denied Indefinite Operating Permit, Paving Way For Possible Relocation
The N.Y. City Planning Commission yesterday "denied Madison Square Garden's request to operate indefinitely on its current site, reopening questions about moving the arena and shifting a hot-button political issue" to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, according to Laura Kusisto of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The commission "voted unanimously Wednesday to give the 45-year-old arena a 15-year operating permit, creating a political countdown for a deal to move the arena from 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue and clear the way to rebuild Pennsylvania Station, which sits below the complex." The commission typically grants such permits "indefinitely, but in the case of the Garden, the seemingly routine process has been complicated by long-standing issues around improving Penn Station" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/23). Commission Chair Amanda Burden said, "I don't think anyone would disagree that the best outcome for New York City would be a relocated Madison Square Garden and a rebuilt Penn Station." In N.Y., Matt Chaban noted one person who "may well disagree and could rule in the Garden's favor" is Quinn, a "mayoral hopeful who will have the final say on the plan in the next two months." Quinn so far has "declined to take a position," but was "an ally of the Garden's owners when they worked together to defeat Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal for a new football stadium on the West Side." MSG "remains defiant in its rights to the site," and the "possibility of a lawsuit against the city remains" (CRAINSNEWYORK.com, 5/22).