Iconic Madison Square Garden Could Be Relocated in 15 Years

by May 22, 2013

Gotham’s city Planning Commission refused to grant a lease “in perpetuity” to Madison Square Garden (home to the Knicks and Rangers), the legendary midtown building that bills itself as the World’s Most Famous Arena. Some influential people want MSG moved to another site once the current lease is up in 15 years, so that Penn Station could get a badly-needed makeover. Per the NY Daily News: “The world’s biggest stage may have to move in 15 years. The city opted to renew Madison Square Garden’s lease for a mere 15 years Wednesday, signaling that the iconic arena is not a permanent fixture in midtown Manhattan. ‘The best possible outcome would be a relocated Madison Square Garden,’ said city Planning Commission chairwoman Amanda Burden. The commissioners then voted unanimously to approve the 15-year permit. The owner of the 45-year-old arena, James Dolan, had been seeking a renewal ‘in perpetuity’ while he carried out $1 billion in renovations that upgraded seats, luxury suites and more. ‘We are extremely disappointed in today’s vote, especially because MSG meets all of the requirements for the permit,’ the Garden said in a statement. ‘City Planning’s decision to assign an arbitrary expiration to the permit is inappropriate, unfair and unwarranted.’ Advocates of re-planting the Garden elsewhere hailed the vote as a big step toward overhauling Penn Station, which is below the arena, so that it is more accommodating to commuters. […] The City Council will next make the determining vote on the permit. The Garden could earn an extension to the permit if it takes measures to improve the flow of pedestrian traffic into Penn Station, the Commission said. But it was clear that Burden believes the Garden needs to move. ‘What a 15-year period can do is create an opportunity for city, state, and federal government agencies to reach an agreement with Penn Station and the railroads for a comprehensive plan to relocate the arena,’ she said. ‘There is no more important initiative for the region.'”