Thursday, July 4, 2013

Madison Square Garden Loses Fight With Civic Groups

In March we reported that owners of Madison Square Garden had petitioned New York City to renew "in perpetuity" the permit that allows them to operate an sports facility atop Penn Station, the country’s busiest transit hub.

Well, it appears that Madison Square Garden has lost the fight:

Like so many epic matches at Madison Square Garden, the fight over the future of the arena’s special permit went many rounds. In the end though, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered the crucial blow, leaving the presumed underdogs, the preservationists and transit advocates, the victor as two City Council committees unanimously approved a 10-year permit for the Garden Wednesday.

The Garden, controlled by the Dolan family, had hoped to have its permit extended a bit longer. In fact, they insisted that it should be granted in perpetuity, arguing such was the case for other athletic facilities in the city. But a number of civic groups fought against the effort, arguing for a term-limited permit that might help resuscitate negotiations over relocating the arena so that Penn Station, trapped underneath the Garden for half a century, might be rebuilt and expanded.

If Madison Square Garden ever gets kicked off the site, a few architects have already submitted visions for what the space could become.

Steve Clowney

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