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Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal

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Old
04-09-2013, 02:53 PM
  #51
Jester9881
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This is a political shell game. They will likely come to some agreement, centered around a lease in return for abolishing the tax abatement they have been receiving.

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04-11-2013, 09:45 AM
  #52
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First hearing before the Planning Commission was last night: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article...RISM/130419984

Quote:
And they were dismissive of the Garden's bid to receive a special permit in perpetuity. Advocates for the renewal of Penn Station, which sits below the building, are lobbying for a term-limited permit which could impel the Garden to move, freeing up Penn Station to expand.

"This is an unusual issue for us, and we will need to give it very careful consideration," Commission Chair Amanda Burden said of the special permit issue in her opening remarks.
Quote:
Commissioner Irwin Cantor, a trained engineer, mounted perhaps the strongest attack on the Garden. "If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig," he said of the Garden's billion-dollar renovation and failure to accommodate better loading. "You're not persuasive that this kind of work is infeasible."

Without blaming the Garden for Penn Station's checkered past, Mr. Cantor said the arena was still responsible for it. "You're asking for an open ended future, which we'll have a serious problem with, I'm sure, and you're offering nothing in return," he said. "Knowing the history of the Garden, the history of the site, through no fault of MSG, if we have an opportunity to improve the site, we want to look at it."
Quote:
At times, even Mr. Cantor was critical of the Garden's foes. "Ten years seems arbitrary to me," he said of the oft-cited timeframe. "Would 15 years work, or 18 years?" Among the issues in delaying the decision, he said the Garden deserved time to amortize its billion-dollar investment in upgrading the arena.
Also, an appearance from Larry Johnson haha. The big guns are being brought in.

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04-11-2013, 09:51 AM
  #53
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Originally Posted by Jester9881 View Post
This is a political shell game. They will likely come to some agreement, centered around a lease in return for abolishing the tax abatement they have been receiving.
Lease? Between who? MSG is not owned by the city. It is owned by Dolan (or whoever legally owns it on paper).

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04-11-2013, 09:53 AM
  #54
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What on earth did they do that cost $1 billion?!
As a rangers season ticket holder, I am wondering the same.

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04-15-2013, 05:36 PM
  #55
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Originally Posted by Gotta Catch Em Staal View Post
For those who are not familiar with the MSG/Penn Station debacle, here is the OLD Penn Station (which is where MSG sits today):
Makes me want to cry.
Penn Station was private property. The Pennsylvania RR had the right to do with it what it wanted.

At the end of WW2, once commercial air travel supplanted rail travel long distances, the era of moving people profitably on the rails was over. The interstates were being built, and people decided to drive short distances, and fly long distances. The Pennsy owned the LIRR at the time, and that was their biggest money maker. By the early 50's, the Pennsy was losing $1 million a year on the station upkeep alone. So they sold the air rights to MSG corporation, who promised them a smaller station underground, and a 1/4 interest in the complex. The rest was history.

There were no laws on the books preventing one from destroying their property. Penn Station was private property. Many people wanted new. And new was not Penn Station.

If you look at those old pictures, you will see the tops of the pictures dirty and grimy. The lower parts sparkling clean. It was filthy. And the Pennsy didn't maintain it. They only cleaned it as high as a worker could reach. By keeping it dark and dirty, the public wouldn't realize what a treasure it was in construction materials alone.


Cheers!
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Originally Posted by XX View Post
Maybe NY shouldn't have allowed Penn Station (the real one back in the day) to be demolished in the first place if they care so much. They almost got rid of Grand Central too. The death of the former spurred conservation efforts for the latter. Had NY cared about preserving landmarks during this period, both would still exist and this would be a non issue.
Pennsylvania Station was private property. The City had no power at the time to prevent its destruction. The PA didn't want to buy it. They were more concerned with the area airports at the time that were killing the Pennsy's passenger business.

Cheers!
-Doug

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Originally Posted by Shrimper View Post
So, when they converted it did they knock it all down and rebuild it completely or just knock down the facade of the Old station and the roof and build on top?
Demolition of Old Penn and the construction of MSG IV took 3+ years.

The first step was to remove all the carved stone work. (The Penn Station eagles, and the night / day maidens around the clocks being the most significant). Then the tricky work began.

They laid new steel beams just below street level, poured concrete, and that served as the new ceiling of Penn Station, and also the new floor of the Garden. They then tore down everything above ground except the perimeter structure. The new garden arose within Old Penn's walls. They never closed more than two tracks while sinking pilings for the new office tower and MSG. Once the Garden was complete, then they tore down the perimeter building.

Quite a task to tear down an old station, build a new one, and build the arena while keeping the trains moving below.

Cheers!
-Doug

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotta Catch Em Staal View Post
There are problems with functionality as well. It is over capacity, can't handle crowds well and is difficult to navigate. Of course, ultimately, the biggest constraint currently to Penn Station is the trans-Hudson tunnels leading into it, which are a century old and consist of a single track in and a single track out. The ARC tunnel project that Governor Christie canceled a couple of years ago was supposed to remedy that. So, there are a lot of issues surrounding Penn Station beyond the arena sitting on top of it.
Blocking this permit just cries of "gimme gimme gimmie". If transit is truly to be addressed, then other things need to happen before one even considers replacing the head house of Penn Station, and that is:

1. Providing more tunnel capacity under the rivers.
2. Providing additional tracks in Penn Station.

There are 21 tracks in Penn, spanning from 31st to 33rd Street. If they are going increase capacity, they need to widen the station, and that means condemning a city block or two.

So I have a dark underground over-capacity train station now. If I tear down MSG (and the office tower on 7th Av) for a new station, all I got for my money is a new waiting room. I don't address the real issue, and that's track capacity...

Cheers!
-Doug


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Old
04-16-2013, 08:52 AM
  #56
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You clearly have a very good understanding of the history of Penn and MSG, and I agree that the biggest problem is tunnel capacity, but that doesn't preclude station access and capacity from being addressed. The tunnel issue has been a focus for a while now as you know, and I think it's reasonable to expect that eventually some sort of solution will be agreed on. Of course, it could be 20 years (or more) before that ever happens, but that falls right in line with the time frame of this permit. Why on earth should the city grant anyone a permit "in perpetuity." Seems like it would be needlessly handcuffing itself. By granting a 10 year permit, the issue can be readdressed when a capacity solution is closer to being a reality.

If the Tri-State area was really serious about improving rail, while reducing platform capacity constraints at Penn Station in the process, they would merge NJ Transit rail, Long Island Railroad and Metro North into one regional agency, allowing trains to continue going straight through at Penn, opening up a wealth of more convenient travel options for people and eliminating a lot of bureaucracy. That's an idea no one will probably ever seriously discuss, though (in my lifetime at least).


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04-16-2013, 11:02 AM
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotta Catch Em Staal View Post
You clearly have a very good understanding of the history of Penn and MSG, and I agree that the biggest problem is tunnel capacity, but that doesn't preclude station access and capacity from being addressed. The tunnel issue has been a focus for a while now as you know, and I think it's reasonable to expect that eventually some sort of solution will be agreed on. Of course, it could be 20 years (or more) before that ever happens, but that falls right in line with the time frame of this permit. Why on earth should the city grant anyone a permit "in perpetuity." Seems like it would be needlessly handcuffing itself. By granting a 10 year permit, the issue can be readdressed when a capacity solution is closer to being a reality.
Thanks for the nod. I am a Cooper Union graduate, and Adolf Weinman, also a graduate, carved all the stonework for Old Penn. The school has one of the eagles. I spent many Mays sitting on its wing, drinking refreshing adult beverages after finals. Let us say I've been schooled in the old building.

But back to your comment on the permit. I believe in property rights. The Garden is private property, and was built with the purpose of seating 20,000 for entertainment events. Not granting the permit could be considered confiscation of property, because now the structure cannot be used as intended. Would you like to apply for a permit to stay in your home? Would any company who built an office tower want to apply for permits? Everyone has saying MSG must go, but nobody is even addressing the office tower on the 7th avenue end of the property, not to mention the other connecting tower between 33rd and 34th St. Where are those tenants going to go? Why should they have to go?

If Amtrak, which owns Penn Station now, wishes to expand the head-house, then the burden is on them to begin eminent domain hearings and pay fair market value for the above ground property. Amtrak would also have the burden of finding the Garden a new home. I just don't see any government spending that kind of money on vanity. It's not money well spent, no matter how noble the cause may be.

If you ever get to see plans of old Penn Station, it wasn't very well thought out. It was designed for show, to display the might of the railroad industry. Much of the open feel of the old building was just that... air space. Old Penn had an arcade of shops under what is now 1 Penn. There was a diner, maybe a bar. Heck, in the main waiting room, there wasn't even a bench on which to sit. There wasn't anything in the train shed on the 8th avenue end until the 50's when the RR was looking for more revenue did they begin shoehorning in smaller shops on the 8th avenue end, and pretty much cluttering up any open space with a display, kiosk, or billboard in order to make an extra buck.

The *smaller* station you see now hasn't changed much in terms of operability... The station is just underground. Track capacity hasn't been reduced, but how that track capacity is used has changed. It wasn't a commuter station in 1910. The station was designed for the majority of its traffic being long distance trains.

Look at photos of construction to see how the Pennsy had to shoehorn in the tracks / tunnels. Now consider what has been added underground since 1910. It will be an extreme challenge to add track capacity at Penn Station today at an affordable price.

Quote:
If the Tri-State area was really serious about improving rail, while reducing platform capacity constraints at Penn Station in the process, they would merge NJ Transit rail, Long Island Railroad and Metro North into one regional agency, allowing trains to continue going straight through at Penn, opening up a wealth of more convenient travel options for people and eliminating a lot of bureaucracy. That's an idea no one will probably ever seriously discuss, though (in my lifetime at least).
Will the ends justify the means? Passenger rail isn't all that profitable - which is why it must be subsidized; freight is any RR's bread and butter nowadays. Can adding capacity be recouped with the increase in traffic? I don't think so. Moving some LIRR trains to GCT is a start. At least that is a reality coming soon.

NEC through trains must use Penn Station. NJT must use Penn, too. Some Amtrak trains that terminate in NY and run to the north (The Maple Leaf, the Ethan Allen, etc.) can use GCT, but that forces passengers who need to change trains to change stations, too. Amtrak consolidated trains at Penn to cut costs and save money.

There is much more to look at, such as subway capacity in and near Penn. If say, 10 tracks are added in Penn, along with tunnels to NJ to make use of them, are ever built, can the existing subway move the people out of there efficiently? I just don't know.

What I do know is that services which can be moved to GCT should be moved, and the services that are forced to use Penn should be able to make use of the vacated openings.

A study may find that building a new station someplace else may actually make more sense (and be more affordable.)

Cheers!
-Doug

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04-16-2013, 12:31 PM
  #58
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**Disclaimer - I am a Civil Engineer, so I may be slightly biased, but (hopefully) factual**

I highly doubt building anything new anywhere in Manhattan will be the cheaper option. Development rights are crazy anywhere near the river, and your constraint is going to be the alignment of the track tunnels across the island. So you're looking at taking out 4 city blocks between 32nd & 34th street - there's no way that can happen today. GCT is lucky b/c it's aligned w/ the avenues instead of the streets - a single block has a much longer with in that alignment (1056 ft [1/5 mile] vs 264 ft [1/20 mile]), so you don't need to impact the grid as much to get the same space

There's also a ton of other constraints that people don't think about, especially underground infrastructure. The only thing you can do is expand on the existing footprint and hope that the people don't decry when you go the Eminent Domain route to condemn their property. The other problem is that you can't really split operations between GCT & Penn, unless you have a direct connection between the two, but there's massive engineering obstacles stopping that right now.

The best option would have been for NJ Transit to build the ARC Tunnel and new station under 34th St. Regardless of what people heard from politicians, that station would have been easier to access, connected more subway lines (direct connection w/ the 6th Ave & Broadway lines at Herald Sq [currently the B,D,F,M & N,Q,R trains]), and allowed for dedicated NJT space at Penn Station. That tunnel could also have been extended to the new LIRR terminal at Grand Central Terminal when Water Tunnel #1 is decommissioned after the new Water Tunnel #3 is operational (hopefully within the decade). People don't realize there are 2 massive tunnels (>20ft in diameter) with a third under construction that carry NYC's water supply down from the Catskills, and one of them happens to be between Penn Sta & GCT.

Gov. Christie made a great sound byte w/ the "train to the basement of Macy's" comment and the uninformed masses ate it up. It was also a political move so he wouldn't need to raise the gas tax to cover the Transportation Trust Fund. The tunnels had to be so far below ground to avoid a historic bulkhead that's basically under the current West St and to limit construction impacts to the adjoining neighborhoods. Rail can only really rise at a 2% vertical grade (rise 2ft up in 100ft horizontally - and that's pushing it), so in order to access the current Penn Station, one would have to split the tunnel in the middle of the Hudson River, which would pose huge engineering & construction challenges. I have no clue how Amtrak's design engineers are planning to get their tunnels to connect w/ the existing Penn Station, unless they're more willing to deal w/ the community complaints when cut & cover construction from the bulkhead line of Manhattan back to Penn severs everything in the neighborhood for years.

The funny thing is, all the parties involved (MSG, Amtrak, NJT, MTA, NYC, PANYNJ/NY State/NJ) did have everything in place to relocate MSG, build a new trainhouse, expand capacity of Penn, and redevelop the area in the immediate vicinity of the project. It all fell apart when NYC refused to transfer the tax break that MSG has in its current building to the new site in the back of the Farley Post Office. MSG "overnight" reversed direction on the entire multi-year planning process and went for a renovation instead of a new building. The $$ from the tax break more than made up for the difference in construction costs of the retrofit. The Dolans are also the same people that spent MILLIONS on TV ads lambasting the West Side Stadium under the facade of community opposition when the main driving force was that they didn't want a new indoor facility to complete against MSG. Sure the neighborhoods didn't want it, but those groups didn't have anywhere near the $$ needed to run a television ad campaign.

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04-18-2013, 04:41 PM
  #59
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05-07-2013, 06:11 PM
  #60
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Looks like the Planning Commission is going to recommend a 15 year permit: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article...TATE/130509913

Quote:
While executives at Madison Square Garden celebrate the recent successes of the Knicks and Rangers, things don't look to be going so well with the fate of the "the World's Most Famous Arena" itself. At a meeting of the City Planning Commission Monday, the Department of City Planning laid out a case for limiting to 15 years a special permit that allows the Garden to continue to operate in the heart of midtown. That is much less than what Garden officials have in mind; they were seeking to get the 50-year-old permit, which recently expired, renewed in perpetuity. A coalition of civic groups has opposed giving the Garden permanent permission in hopes of compelling it to relocate, thereby freeing up Penn Station—stuck for half a century in the basement of the arena—to be redeveloped and expanded.

Those groups had pushed for a 10-year term. The City Planning department, however, argued that a 15-year permit would be more appropriate.

"While Madison Square Garden maintains that the arena special permit should continue in perpetuity, we believe the term is warranted due to the uniqueness of the site and the importance of Penn Station to the city," said Amanda Burden, the head of City Planning Department who also chairs the City Planning Commission.

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05-09-2013, 07:35 AM
  #61
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I just do not understand the need to refurbish Penn Station. It is a commuting hub, not a place for people to "hang out".

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05-09-2013, 09:24 AM
  #62
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They'll extend this, MSG is far to historic for it not to be extended.

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05-09-2013, 09:49 AM
  #63
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They'll extend this, MSG is far to historic for it not to be extended.
ehh...the name is historic, the arena itself not so much. If you think the current MSG is historic, you should have seen what was there before...RIP Penn Station

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05-09-2013, 10:52 AM
  #64
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Originally Posted by Gotta Catch Em Staal View Post
While that's certainly true for MSG, it's the city here that has all of the leverage. If they refuse to renew the permit there's not a whole lot MSG can do.
Just bump up ticket prices by a factor of 10, and only let 2500 people in the building.

After all, it is NY.

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07-09-2013, 07:14 AM
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From the New York Times, dated June 27:

Quote:
By a vote of 7-0, the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises agreed this week to give the Garden a ten year permit, at the end of which period the owners will either have to relocate, or go back through the permission process. The full Committee on Land Use concurred, by a vote of 18-1. Since City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has already endorsed a ten-year renewal and a commission to study how to find the Garden a better home, the signs point to final approval by city planners and final passage by the Council in late July.
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07-09-2013, 08:23 AM
  #66
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i still dont understand how you evict a building.

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07-09-2013, 11:43 AM
  #67
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i still dont understand how you evict a building.
Eminent Domain. If they ever try denying the permit, there will be a massive suit claiming that it's a taking, and that they will need to go through the eminent domain process and pay fair market compensation.

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07-09-2013, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by patnyrnyg View Post
I just do not understand the need to refurbish Penn Station. It is a commuting hub, not a place for people to "hang out".
It's not about how it looks or how it attracts people. It's about how it handles the flow of 300,000 people every day.

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07-09-2013, 11:50 AM
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It's not about how it looks or how it attracts people. It's about how it handles the flow of 300,000 people every day.
And the old Penn Station people keep gushing about and wishing for would almost certainly be much worse at that task, but it was prettier.

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07-09-2013, 11:54 AM
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And the old Penn Station people keep gushing about and wishing for would almost certainly be much worse at that task, but it was prettier.
I've never had to commute to GCT, but it's the same era and people seem to have much less of a problem there than Penn.

EDIT: Admittedly, GCT serves half the people.

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07-10-2013, 06:50 PM
  #71
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I've never had to commute to GCT, but it's the same era and people seem to have much less of a problem there than Penn.

EDIT: Admittedly, GCT serves half the people.
GCT is also not open 24 hours a day like Penn is.

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07-12-2013, 07:24 PM
  #72
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Originally Posted by kyle evs48 View Post
It's not about how it looks or how it attracts people. It's about how it handles the flow of 300,000 people every day.
Actually, it's 600,000 who pass through Penn Station every day--a station that was built for a capacity of 250,000. NYC is an island--only so many cars and buses can get into it every day. Moving people around the area by train is pretty much the only sane option available.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/ny...anted=all&_r=0

Nothing in New York is forever. There have been four structures called Madison Square Garden in three different locations. The world will not end if they move somewhere else in Manhattan.

PS: great thread!

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07-12-2013, 09:50 PM
  #73
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Nothing in New York is forever. There have been four structures called Madison Square Garden in three different locations. The world will not end if they move somewhere else in Manhattan.

PS: great thread!
True. And they were ready to move until the city dicked them over. And then, the arena being private property, they decided to stay. And in this country, a city cannot just say, "nope, ours, you're not allowed to use it anymore" without paying fair market value. We enshrined that principle into our Constitution. And make no mistake, that's what denying the permit without compensating MSG would be doing. And when you're paying MSG fair market value for an immensely profitable arena, as situated on incredibly valuable real estate in Manhattan (because you don't just get to pretend there are no improvements on the site) you're running to what? 5 billion dollars? 10? Plus years of litigation? Why not just build a new station, or dig out the underground infrastructure to handle more people? Tricky, but a couple billion can go a long way.

Just give them the indefinite permit. Nothing lasts forever in NYC, but the city doesn't get to decide when private property owners have to call it quits without paying them fair value.

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07-14-2013, 12:14 AM
  #74
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Originally Posted by CptKirk View Post
True. And they were ready to move until the city dicked them over. And then, the arena being private property, they decided to stay. And in this country, a city cannot just say, "nope, ours, you're not allowed to use it anymore" without paying fair market value. We enshrined that principle into our Constitution. And make no mistake, that's what denying the permit without compensating MSG would be doing. And when you're paying MSG fair market value for an immensely profitable arena, as situated on incredibly valuable real estate in Manhattan (because you don't just get to pretend there are no improvements on the site) you're running to what? 5 billion dollars? 10? Plus years of litigation? Why not just build a new station, or dig out the underground infrastructure to handle more people? Tricky, but a couple billion can go a long way.

Just give them the indefinite permit. Nothing lasts forever in NYC, but the city doesn't get to decide when private property owners have to call it quits without paying them fair value.
Then, why do they have this process in the first place? I'm not going to get into details--I was expressing an opinion--but it's a lot more complicated that you make it out to be. Sometimes, public good trumps private enterprise.

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07-14-2013, 12:16 AM
  #75
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One thing I'm confused about is how would the city rejecting their permit be imminent domain? It's not like they are taking the property, right? They're pretty much saying, "You can't use it for hockey, basketball, and other events. You could still own it, though." Am I wrong?

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