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Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal

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Old
03-06-2013, 10:32 AM
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Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal

Potentially interesting thing going on right now that I've been hearing a lot of people talk about (I'm an urban planner so this is the kind of thing I nerd out about).

In short, MSG was granted a 50 year special permit in 1963 to operate a venue with over 2,500 seats. That permit just expired and they have requested it be extended in perpetuity. There has been a vocal push to have the city deny that request, instead granting a permit with a much shorter time frame under the condition that the future of the site be evaluated with the possibility of relocating the Garden in order to revitalize the pathetic Penn Station crammed down below it. One of the big twists in this, of course, is that nearly a billion dollars was just spent renovating the Garden.

NY Times editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/ar...r-renewal.html
Regional Plan Association editorial: http://www.rpa.org/2013/02/a-new-pen...-new-york.html
Gothamist: http://gothamist.com/2013/02/14/msg.php

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The owners of Madison Square Garden are now looking to New York City to renew — in perpetuity — the special permit that allows them to operate an arena atop Penn Station, the country’s busiest transit hub.
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The Council could grant a 10-year permit, enough time so that the Garden and the various parties responsible for the station can come up with an appropriately aggressive plan to improve the site, a plan that should include discussions about a possible future home, elsewhere, for the arena. Renewal of the permit is one of the few points of leverage the city has over the Garden.

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03-06-2013, 10:36 AM
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There's probably no chance in hell they don't get it extended. When the city gives tax-breaks so that they don't move the arena into NJ, then you know who has the leverage.

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03-06-2013, 10:37 AM
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MSG didn't just spend a $1 billion on a renovation if they thought they would have to move in 10 years.

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03-06-2013, 10:40 AM
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I tend to agree with you guys, but I don't think it's as out of the question as most people think. Community Board 5 rejected the permit application last month with a 36-0 vote.

The Garden, even with its fancy new renovations, is still a very dated building in many respects. And sure, Dolan holds some leverage just as any owner does in that he can threaten to move to New Jersey. But, it's less of a threat here I think, because it would be a massive downgrade going from midtown Manhattan. I think New York is very important to the Garden, and the Garden is very important to New York. They both have leverage. It's really too bad MSG backed out of the plan to relocate to the other side of the post office building.

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03-06-2013, 10:44 AM
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The vote last month, was it the same permit or was it for those four gigantic electronic billboards they want?

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03-06-2013, 10:46 AM
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Both: http://nyunews.com/2013/02/21/garden/

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On Feb. 14, Community Board 5 rejected the Garden’s application for an indefinite permit renewal, voting 36 to 0 with one abstention. Instead, the Board voiced its favor of moving the Garden to a different location in the best interests of local property owners and Penn Station commuters.
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Community Board 5 also rejected the Garden’s request for a permit renewal because the arena wanted to increase its signage. The board fears more signs would be a blight on the neighborhood and would confuse tourists and commuters. It also wants to eliminate the Garden’s tax abatement, which cost the city $16.5 million in lost revenue last year.

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03-06-2013, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Gotta Catch Em Staal View Post
I tend to agree with you guys, but I don't think it's as out of the question as most people think. Community Board 5 rejected the permit application last month with a 36-0 vote.

The Garden, even with its fancy new renovations, is still a very dated building in many respects. And sure, Dolan holds some leverage just as any owner does in that he can threaten to move to New Jersey. But, it's less of a threat here I think, because it would be a massive downgrade going from midtown Manhattan. I think New York is very important to the Garden, and the Garden is very important to New York.
No one would take Dolan seriously with a threat to move to NJ anymore. Those days are long over.

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03-06-2013, 10:46 AM
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Can't see anything but a renewal. Wouldn't make sense for them to relocate the stadium after plunging a ridiculous amount of money in it. In about 30 years - possibly. But not in 10 years or less.

If they're worried about Penn Station being crammed beneath couldn't they build a new station at the post office building round the corner where they were potentially going to move the MSG to?

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03-06-2013, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrimper View Post
Can't see anything but a renewal. Wouldn't make sense for them to relocate the stadium after plunging a ridiculous amount of money in it. In about 30 years - possibly. But not in 10 years or less.

If they're worried about Penn Station being crammed beneath couldn't they build a new station at the post office building round the corner where they were potentially going to move the MSG to?
They could, but they wouldn't get the same tax-breaks.

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03-06-2013, 10:54 AM
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A new station is already being built in the post office building called Moynihan Station. It's more of an extension to Penn than a replacement.



It will open in 2016. MSG moving to the other side of the post office was supposed to be a big component of the project, and the whole thing was nearly killed when MSG backed out.

Quote:
Can't see anything but a renewal. Wouldn't make sense for them to relocate the stadium after plunging a ridiculous amount of money in it. In about 30 years - possibly. But not in 10 years or less.
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.

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03-06-2013, 11:29 AM
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Relations between Dolan and Bloomberg are not the greatest. Dolan was one of the lead opponents to the West Side Stadium that Bloomberg coveted. How much pull Bloomberg has with this particular board, I don't know. He definitely controls the city council.

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03-06-2013, 11:35 AM
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"Perpetuity" is a long time, especially when talking about the site of one of the world's biggest transit hubs. I actually tend to side with the city here, as they need the flexibility to re-evaluate the site 10 or 20 or 50 years from now to determine if it still makes sense to have an entertainment venue on top of a rail station. MSG doesn't have any particular argument for a perpetual permit.

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03-06-2013, 12:27 PM
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The Moinihan Station is not a replacement of current penn station. Just Amtrak and select NJT trains moving over......

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03-06-2013, 01:22 PM
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I don't think people were saying it'd be a replacement more just an extension to space it out. I do see the problem with Penn Station being hemmed underneath. When I went there it felt small when you walked in from the main road in front. The only bit that made it feel like a proper, important train station was the waiting area but the problem is you don't see the outside world or get any day light inside which makes it feel beak and dank.

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03-06-2013, 01:45 PM
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For those who are not familiar with the MSG/Penn Station debacle, here is the OLD Penn Station (which is where MSG sits today): http://www.businessinsider.com/penn-...s-2011-12?op=1



Here it is today:



Makes me want to cry.

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03-06-2013, 01:49 PM
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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?

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03-06-2013, 02:36 PM
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It was completely demolished. If there was any good news that came out of it, it was that it generated unprecedented interest in historic preservation that continues to this day.

“One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.”

But not to get too sidetracked on the transit element of it...

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03-06-2013, 02:42 PM
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I appreciate heritage as much or more than anyone, but I have to ask: what does the old Penn station have to do with the current one from a functional perspective? Do they want to tear down MSG just build a grand entrance, or is there a logistical reason for doing so?

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03-06-2013, 02:50 PM
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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.

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03-06-2013, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvercanuck View Post
I appreciate heritage as much or more than anyone, but I have to ask: what does the old Penn station have to do with the current one from a functional perspective? Do they want to tear down MSG just build a grand entrance, or is there a logistical reason for doing so?
One of the articles above mentions that usage of Penn Station has tripled since it was built. There simply isn't enough space below MSG to provide the space and services needed for that level of traffic.

I haven't seen any specific plans, but one would assume that they would include greatly expanded room for platforms, a commercial mall similar to that at Grand Central Station, and the allowance for some air and space inside the building to accommodate the crowds. Anyone who has been to Grand Central can testify that such a train station is worth visiting in its own right as a tourist destination, which is a revenue stream that Penn Station will never enjoy in its current incarnation.

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03-06-2013, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotta Catch Em Staal View Post
A new station is already being built in the post office building called Moynihan Station. It's more of an extension to Penn than a replacement.



It will open in 2016. MSG moving to the other side of the post office was supposed to be a big component of the project, and the whole thing was nearly killed when MSG backed out.
I thought the original plans was for the new Garden to be built within the facade of the Farley Post Office building - and incorporating the station into the building only happened after Dolan pulled out in 2008.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/ny...04madison.html

Quote:
The Garden, which is owned by Cablevision Systems and controlled by the Dolan family, showed off the new designs for the 40-year-old arena only a week after it announced that it had abandoned a three-year-old proposal to move a block away.

That proposal, which won support from politicians and civic groups but had encountered logistical problems, a shortfall in public financing and political inertia, was part of a $14 billion plan to build a new Pennsylvania Station and a half-dozen skyscrapers in the surrounding neighborhood. A new arena, the fifth Garden in 129 years, would have been built within the walls of the James A. Farley Post Office, across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station and the current Garden.

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03-06-2013, 04:19 PM
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They were always supposed to co-exist, I think. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...ticle-1.288627

Quote:
Madison Square Garden dealt a potential death blow to the faltering Moynihan Station Thursday night by abandoning a plan to move across the street as the centerpiece of the new rail hub.

The Garden's owners will instead renovate the 40-year-old arena. The stunning decision could kill the plan to replace gloomy Penn Station with a handsome new hub named for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

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03-06-2013, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
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): http://www.businessinsider.com/penn-...s-2011-12?op=1
That's about as genuinely sad as I've ever felt about property.

I didn't know that, thanks for the link.

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03-07-2013, 12:55 PM
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Would it be feesable to "move" Penn Station where they're building the new one and just leave certain trains in the old one - or none?

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03-07-2013, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Parker McDonald View Post
They could, but they wouldn't get the same tax-breaks.
If I recall correctly they got some subsidy from NYC in the early 80s when the Rangers were contemplating going to Jersey. (I know this seems insanely implausible now but NYC was very different back then and flights to Jersey and other suburbs were common. Even NBC was close to leaving 30 Rock for jersey.) However their subsidy is only good if they are in that particular building. So moving anywhere, even if its across the street would cost them too much.

Regarding Penn Station not being aesthetically pleasing as it was in the past, I had to commute through there for a couple of years. When you are commuting you just don't care. You just want to get to work or go home as the case maybe

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