And the battle over the renewal of Madison Square Garden's permit to operate in its current Midtown location rolls on. The City Planning Commission?one of the cogs in a complex wheel of municipal approval charged with deciding how much longer MSG should be allowed to proceed as is before another reevaluation, which would allow Penn Station to be overhauled?said yesterday that it is willing to grant the Garden another 15 years. Many advocates of renovating and expanding the dungeon that is Penn Station, including the local community board, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, architecture critics, and the Municipal Art Society, want to cap MSG's permit at 10 years, while the Garden itself is pushing for a permit to operate in perpetuity... i.e. forever.
City Planning head Amanda Burden held that 15 years is the appropriate length of time to both give MSG some time to figure out what's next and also to convene a group made up of officials from many city agencies that can figure out what to do with Penn Station.
For its part, the Garden just sunk $1 billion into renovating its arena, and so is reluctant to move before making good on that investment. A spokeswoman said yesterday that hinging MSG's special permit on plans for Penn Station is not right, and that the arena's continued operation should depend on its own viability, which won't be as robust if its time in its current location is limited. The Garden responded earlier this year that it was not responsible for demolishing the original Penn Station in the first place, so it should not be penalized in its name today.
Speculation has been raised that if the limited permit is approved by Speaker Quinn and the City Council, which is the next step, MSG might sue. But most of the City Planning officials agreed with the 15-year cap and the urgency of coming up with a plan to revitalize Penn Station and its surrounds?so it looks like the Garden is in the minority on this one.
· City proposes limiting Garden to 15 more years [Crain's]
· Madison Square Garden to NYC: We're Not Going Anywhere [Curbed]
· Madison Square Garden's Permit Renewal Drama Drags On [Curbed]
· Madison Square Garden coverage [Curbed]