What’s the worst news you could receive after completing a three-year, $968 million renovation on your current arena? That it will have to be moved in ten years in order to update a major commuter rail hub that sits below it.
Well, that’s exactly what happened to the historic Madison Square Garden earlier today.
The New York City Council voted 47-1 to extend the Garden’s operating permit for ten more years. The Garden’s ownership had asked for it to be in perpetuity while the Bloomberg administration had hoped for a 15 year permit. Why a ten year permit then? The Council feels that it would be an adequate amount of time for the Garden to find a new location within the city.
This is all coming to fruition due to a plan to expand Pennsylvania station which sits just below Madison Square Garden. The commuter station is the busiest in North America, serving over 500,000 people a day. They not only hope to ease the congestion but they also want to redevelop the surrounding neighborhoods as well.
This isn’t the first time such a thing has been planned for Madison Square Garden. Prior to the 2008 renovation of the Garden there was a $14 billion plan in place to move the arena and transform the station below it. That effort was crippled by a recession.