By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
July 26, 2013
A billion dollars buys you ten years… at least in Madison Square Garden’s case. Despite investing almost $1 billion over the last three years to renovate the iconic arena, Madison Square Garden may have to relocate within the next decade to accommodate upgrades to Penn Station. The New York City Council voted 47-1 to renew MSG’s special operating permit for just 10 years, not in perpetuity as requested by the company or the 15 years promoted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The arena has been at its current location above Penn Station for 45 years.
The City Council vote doesn’t necessarily mean that the Knicks and Rangers will have to find a new home immediately. A lot can change within the next decade, and the City must still put forth a viable plan to renovate the train station. But the decision has to upset MSG chairman James Dolan, who decided to move forward with a $1 billion arena renovation only after a previous Penn Station improvement plan fell through. MSG can apply to extend their new permit when it expires in 2023, so expect Dolan to put up a significant fight before any move becomes official.