Ten-Year permit is first step towards finding a new home for MSG and building a Penn Station suitable for the 21st Century
New York, NY- Today, the City Council will vote to approve a special permit that will allow Madison Square Garden to operate for a period of ten years. The ten-year period will allow time to create and implement a plan for the future of the site, and the entire area. Significantly improving Penn Station while Madison Square Garden sits atop it has proven to be an intractable problem. Last month, Speaker Quinn called for the creation of a Commission for a 21st century Penn Station whose dual mandate should be 1) to find a new Manhattan home for a state-of-the-art Madison Square Garden and 2) to create a Penn Station which more appropriately suits the needs of the hundreds of thousands of travelers who pass through it every day and can accommodate its expected growth in the future.
“New Yorkers deserve a 21st century transportation hub worthy of the greatest city in the world,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The approval of this permit offers us a great opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world class transportation destination and allow time to relocate Madison Square Garden to a new and improved home.”
“This ten year lease for Madison Square Garden ensures that they can continue their renovations, allowing it to remain a sports and entertainment mecca, while also giving all levels of government the time to work on a solution that will improve Penn Station,” said Council Member Leroy Comire, Chair of the Land Use Committee. “This agreement also protects the city’s economic interests in the long term, by making sure we continue to be one of the premier sports and transportation destinations in the world.”
“Imagine 220 mph bullet trains that sweep you to D.C. or Boston in 90 minutes or less. These plans are on the table, but they can only be realized with a modern, renovated Penn Station,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “That is not possible as long as the Garden sits squarely on top of the nation’s busiest rail transit hub. This decision granting the Garden a 10—year permit mirrors a recommendation my office issued over three months ago, and I applaud the council’s vote. But now the real work begins: City, state and federal stakeholders must create a far-reaching Master Plan for the Pennsylvania/Moynihan Station area.”
Finding a new location for Madison Square Garden is the only way to address the ongoing capacity and safety issues at Penn Station and will make best use this area.
“The Council’s action is the first essential step in the process of building both a world class Penn Station and a world class arena in Manhattan. These investments will provide major economic development, mobility and public safety benefits to the city and to the hundreds of thousands of commuters who use Penn Station every day. I applaud Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership on this important issue,” said Bob Yaro, President, Regional Plan Association.
“Now is the time to get to work and build the Penn Station that New York City and the region desperately need in order to improve transit access and spur economic growth in the City and throughout the region,” said Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society and founding member of the Alliance for a New Penn Station. “This is the key infrastructure and development project of our time, and an essential investment in the future of our City. We are grateful to Speaker Christine Quinn for her steadfast support and commitment to this issue and encourage the full City Council to vote to limit MSG’s permit to ten years, so that New Yorkers can have the world-class train station and dynamic arena they deserve.”
“Today’s vote sets the stage for New Yorkers to come together to rebuild Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and the Penn Plaza district within the next decade. In an era of increased train travel, terrorist and climate threats, and New York City’s significant need for new office and housing located near public transportation, the redevelopment of Penn Station and its environs represents a unique chance to remake what today is an unsafe, unwelcome, and unbecoming area for the City of New York,” said Vishaan Chakrabarti, Director of Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate.