MSG is not related to the ESC…
The Fight Over Penn Station and Madison Square Garden
By William Finnegan
March 6, 2023
…… Madison Square Garden has been New York’s biggest stage for mass entertainment for nearly a hundred and fifty years, and, for the Dolans, it has been a lucrative property. As bad as the Knicks generally are, the arena is almost always full for games, with even nosebleed seats sometimes going for two hundred a pop. The Garden stages more than three hundred events a year, and many of its patrons arrive through Penn. Step off your train, find a working escalator (or walk up the stairs), and you’re there.
…… In January, elected officials, including Representative Jerry Nadler and seven state and local politicians, wrote a letter to Dolan, protesting the use of facial recognition and reminding the company of its valuable tax break. Dolan has heard such threats before, and does not seem cowed.
Last year, after the City Council threatened not to renew M.S.G.’s operating permit, the company sent back its own warning. If the permit expired, it said, “MSG would be permitted to raze the Garden and build another structure above Penn Station on an as-of-right basis.” (Italics added to evoke spooky music.) “As-of-right” means, in this context, without discussion. The company apparently got no pushback.
Dolan may be less engaged in the Garden’s day-to-day operations than he is in another project, the construction of a vast, ball-shaped performance venue in Las Vegas called the M.S.G. Sphere. But he would have to be much dumber than he is, not to mention a shirker of his duty to his shareholders, to move the Garden unless someone makes him an offer that’s too good to refuse. Do we really have to find a prime plot in midtown that’s acceptable to James Dolan, buy it, and build him a new Garden before we can get serious about fixing Penn Station? It seems we do.
Last September, Mayor Eric Adams announced that he was open to moving the Garden. “The Penn Station project is a crucial one,” he said. “And if that fits into Madison Square Garden moving into another location—maybe we’ll help the Knicks win.” He flashed a smile—a joke. “So we should be willing to speak with Mr. Dolan and see how it fits into the over-all scheme of that area.”
After that, the Mayor seemed to lose interest. When the news about Dolan’s facial-recognition technology revived questions about whether the Garden would be granted a new permit, Adams brushed them aside, saying that he wasn’t interested in “how he runs his mannerisms inside the Garden.” Asked about moving M.S.G., he suggested that sitting atop Penn was the right place for it to be. “I think it’s a great location,” he said. “I’m happy with it being there.”
The city wouldn’t be foolish enough to lose the Garden (and it’s nightly events that attract thousands) and also lose possibly the Knicks and Rangers (why wouldn’t Jersey want to gain a team as payback for the Nets?) People can huff and puff about it, but neither the city nor the state control what gets built on that site.
What they can do is offer a win-win situation with a rebuilt Garden on site better suitable to an enlightened Penn.
Interesting article, but what does that have to do with the planned towers around the site?
The CB5/Chakrabarti proposal would replace Penn 15 and potentially other proposed towers in the Empire Station complex.
Oh I see. Thanks for the clarification
Whoop tee doo. One floor -
Does anyone know the sqft of site 2? I was going back through and took a look at its massing compared to Penn 15, and it kinda dwarfs it. Which is crazy because Penn 15 already looks quite a bit bigger than the ESB
If a company leased 36k sf in Miami, they’d be acting like the city is the next NY or London.
Penn 15 has 2.6 million gross sqft of area, but it’s always been known that one of the 2 towers going up on Site 2 has been bigger at 2.5 and 2.9 million gross sqft.
Why is gross bolded? Are they using smaller amounts of the sqft than is in the total?
I bolded gross since both zoning sqft and gross sqft have been tossed around (and that really goes for a lot of projects), but should anyone come across my post later on, they will know that the numbers being compared are gross.