Thursday, July 25, 2013

City Council votes ten-year renewal for Madison Square Garden

Capping a surprisingly effective lobbying effort by the Municipal Art Society, the Regional Plan Association, and Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, the New York City Council voted yesterday 47-1 to renew Madison Square Garden's operating permit for only ten years in order to effectuate a revamp of Penn Station below..

The Garden, which is just finishing a renovation costing nearly $1 billion (begun after a plan to move to Moynihan Station dissolved, and with the expectation of a renewal in perpetuity), "barely acknowledged" the deadline, the Times reported.

A move in ten years is not guaranteed. The Garden won't have to move until and unless the city, likely with much help from the state and feds, comes up with a plan to fix Penn Station. The Garden surely will lobby the next administration for changes.

And surely the Garden would make a case for significant subsidies, tax breaks, or revenue generating ideas (naming rights, anyone?) if it had to move.

But the vote sets up a scenario in which, at least for a period of time, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn would be the most stable and modern arena in the city.

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