The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is just completing a $968 million renovation the iconic Manhattan building that is home to the Knicks, the NHL’s Rangers and a wealth of other events. It is going to co-host the 2015 NBA All-Star Game (along with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn). It is one of the NBA’s grand stages, having hosted the Willis Reed game and great performances by everyone from Bernard King to Kobe Bryant.
And it could be forced to move in a decade.
The New York City Council notified the arena that it has 10 years to vacate its 45-year-old premises and find a new home, the Garden’s fifth since it opened in 1879.
By a vote of 47 to 1, the Council voted to extend the Garden’s special operating permit for merely a decade — not in perpetuity, as the owners of the Garden had requested, or 15 years, as the Bloomberg administration had intended.
It is possible there is another extension after that, but the pressure is mounting to move the Garden.
The reason is Penn Station — a hub for both trains coming into the city where commuters can connect to subway lines to get them around New York. An estimated 500,000 people a day move through there, far more than Grand Central Station.
Penn station is too small for this kind of volume of traffic, it is cramped and kind of a maze. There have long been plans to expand it, but the combination of Madison Square Garden above and the financial issues for the city have made that nearly impossible. However, times seem to be a changing.
There are a lot of issues. For one, finding the land in Manhattan and paying for a new Madison Square Garden is not exactly an inexpensive process, either.
Knicks owner and MSG head James Dolan largely dodged the issue, reports the Times. The company released this statement.
“Madison Square Garden has operated at its current site for generations, and has been proud to bring New Yorkers some of the greatest and most iconic moments in sports and entertainment. We now look forward to the reopening of the arena in the fall of 2013.”
Just something to watch over the next five to 10 years. For now, Carmelo Anthony can continue to go to work at the same address.