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Just renovated Madison Square Garden could be forced to move in a decade

Jul 25, 2013, 1:25 PM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks Getty Images

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.

That according to a report in the New York Times Thursday.

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.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Pack your bags Knicks… you’ve sucked for waaaay too long. 😉

  2. dondada10 - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    I live in the Bronx and am a die-hard fan of the Knicks and Rangers. It’s gonna be very interesting to see what comes of this. I can’t see both teams leaving Manhattan. They’ll find another piece of land, probably still on the west side, and build a new arena.

    Basketball and hockey probably require the least amount of square footage among all the major sports. Plus, this rendition of MSG has a sizable theater that they wouldn’t nessicarly need in MSG V.

    As far as taking a loss on the renovations: tough.

  3. sdelmonte - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    This is nuts. First off, I remember there were plans to use a post office as the new Penn Station. I have no idea why this isn’t happening. Secondly, there is no good place to put a new MSG, and not without substantial community opposition. Thirdly, who really thinks that New Yorkers won’t be soaked by the Dolans in the process of building and paying for a new MSG? They will probably demand some sort of subsidy for being forced to move and rebuild.

    Personally, I have never had much of a problem with the current Penn Station. It’s functional. I go there, I get my train, I leave. It’s not Union Station (or, from what I hear, the old Penn Station), but it fits in with all the other utilitarian facilities in NYC like the Port Authority bus stations and the majority of the airline terminals. Things could be better, but I don’t really see the point in spending money on a new train station instead of fixing other things like the rest of the infrastructure or the schools, etc.

    The Dolans haven’t exactly been the best stewards of the long legacy of the Garden. They should be more willing to share the space below, and really ought to be a partner in renovating Penn Station, and they have shown themselves to be anything but civic minded over the years. But I just don’t see the logic in forcing them to move, to spend billions more on a newly renovated facility that really doesn’t need replacing yet (unlike almost every other older sports center in NYC that has been replaced of late). And I don’t think it’s fair to make the Dolans responsible for fixing the failures of the city and federal governments to use the old post office in the first place.

    • dondada10 - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      I did some reading after seeing this article. Apparently, the Javits Center could turn into the new MSG.

      In turn, Aqueduct Raceway could turn into the state’s new convention center seeing how it would be the last stop of that train you see when driving out to JFK.

      • sdelmonte - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        Which still begs the question of “who pays?” I could support a new train station, but not another sports facility.

      • dondada10 - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        Q: Who pays?

        A: Cablevision customers.

  4. thenmoveback - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Looks like another NY team will be playing in New Jersey soon.

    • bigzant82 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:08 AM

      smh the knicks in newark would be fun

  5. eagles512 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Wouldn’t it be easier to keep it the way it is and look for a site or 2 to add another train station or 2 to help reduce the doubt if people at Penn?

    • spursareold - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Uh, no? A train station does not exist in a vaccuum. There are subway lines and train lines in and out. MUCH easier to expand existing Penn and find another place for a sports arena, which IS a stand alone piece of infrastructure.

  6. asimonetti88 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    How much of that $968 million was public money? What a waste.

  7. deebl0ck - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    @dondada10 aqueduct raceway doesn’t exist’s a casino now

  8. apkyletexas - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    An arena without a location. Only in NYC. Bunch of lunatics.

  9. echech88 - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    If they do really end up having to leave in 10 years (and therefore start building a new arena in about 7), MSG has nobody to blame for that huge wasted renovation but themselves for not being 100% certain they were there for the long haul.

    Hard to imagine there weren’t people telling them the clock was ticking given how almost all of those votes were unanimous.

    • spursareold - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      They might have thought they could wag the dog and get the city to do something else since they invested all that money. Guess again.

  10. caeser12 - Jul 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Move Dolan.

    *Knicks fan since 1967. No apologies necessary.

  11. stayhigh_247 - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    thats like moving Wrigley Field or Fenway, not happening….

  12. bux1022 - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Or Yankees stadium which they moved. Sorry the old Yankee stadium is/was more important than Wrigley or Fenway will ever be bum!

    • dondada10 - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:00 PM

      They moved it about 1000 feet.

    • bigzant82 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:52 AM

      the old yankee stadium is better then the new 1 and im a mets fan

  13. dezglobal - Jul 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    I bet in about 10 years they’ll get another 10 year extension. You’ll see MSG stand for so long that they’ll be forced to find a new way to extend the station.

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