The World's Most Famous Arena, MSG, Could be forced to Move to a new Manhattan Location

The New York City Planning Commission and City Council are considering whether to renew the 50-year permit that allowed Madison Square Garden to operate on top of Penn Station for the past half century. Some politicians want any subsequent permit to be issued for only 10 that MSG can plan a relocation to new Manhattan digs in 15.

Yes, really.

Representatives from NJ Transit, Amtrak, and Long Island Rail Road recently wrote a letter to the Planning Commission:

While Madison Square Garden serves as a major entertainment venue and lively civic asset, the original permit clearly reflects very different urban development priorities from those of today. The City’s actions permitting the siting of the arena and the Two Penn Plaza office tower in the place of the iconic station building set the course for the irrevocable loss of a spacious rail terminal and great civic landmark.

Despite significant subsequent investments by the station’s rail carriers to better accommodate these passengers," the letter continued, "travelers have for decades been confined to functionally inadequate accommodations in the makeshift underground station, and have been hampered by severely limited street-level access at a handful of poorly marked and architecturally flawed entrances that are in some cases all but hidden from the street."

MSG, which is in the process of dumping one billion into its current renovations, reportedly will have made that back and then some before the moving trucks would be rolling in. "While sports operations generated just $13 million last year, the company as a whole, including its broadcast operations, is expected to make $700 million over the next four years, according to a Crain’s New York Business report. At that rate, MSG would recover the cost of renovating in 2018, 10 years before it would have to relocate."

Nevertheless, they don't want to move. MSG responded:

"Adding an arbitrary expiration for reasons unrelated to the special permit process or requirements would not only set a dangerous and questionable precedent, but would also hinder our ability to make MSG and New York City the long-term home of even more world-class events, and would harm a business that has served as a significant economic driver for the city for generations."


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