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NYguy May 7, 2013 2:50 PM

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article...TATE/130509913

City proposes limiting Garden to 15 more years
Limit falls hugely short of owner's insistence that the special permit for "the World's Most Famous Arena" be renewed in "perpetuity."
Backers of limit seek way to redevelop site and give Penn Station room to grow.


By Matt Chaban
May 7, 2013


Quote:

While executives at Madison Square Garden celebrate the recent successes of the Knicks and Rangers, things don't look to be going so well with the fate of the "the World's Most Famous Arena" itself. At a meeting of the City Planning Commission Monday, the Department of City Planning laid out a case for limiting to 15 years a special permit that allows the Garden to continue to operate in the heart of midtown. That is much less than what Garden officials have in mind; they were seeking to get the 50-year-old permit, which recently expired, renewed in perpetuity. A coalition of civic groups has opposed giving the Garden permanent permission in hopes of compelling it to relocate, thereby freeing up Penn Station—stuck for half a century in the basement of the arena—to be redeveloped and expanded.

Those groups had pushed for a 10-year term. The City Planning department, however, argued that a 15-year permit would be more appropriate.

"While Madison Square Garden maintains that the arena special permit should continue in perpetuity, we believe the term is warranted due to the uniqueness of the site and the importance of Penn Station to the city," said Amanda Burden, the head of City Planning Department who also chairs the City Planning Commission.

It's been nearly a decade since efforts to move the Garden surfaced. Early talks involved city, state and federal governments, the three railroads that use the station, two developers and the Dolan family, which controls the Garden. Under that plan, the Garden would have moved across Eighth Avenue into the old Farley Post Office. It fell apart in 2008 under bureaucratic inertia and the wreckage of the real estate bubble.

"We are recommending today that the commission call for a renewed, multiagency initiative to improve Penn Station," Ms. Burden said. Her notion of a 15-year permit drew vocal support from fellow commissioners, who will officially vote on the plan later in May.

"I think 15 years, in my view, was a good decision and the minimum of what we could do because 10 years is too short and does not give the Garden enough to relocate," said Commissioner Angela Battaglia, who had been skeptical of a limited term during past commission hearings.

"Ten years would have been punative," Commissioner Richard Eaddy said.

The Garden is especially sensitive to the imposition of the limited permit because it just spent nearly $1 billion renovating the arena. Some commissioners suggested 15 years would be enough time for the Garden to make back its investment, but even so, there has been talk of the arena operators suing should their permit be limited. The Garden's spokeswoman declined to comment on the prospect of a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Art Society, which has helped lead the groups pushing for a 10-year permit, said that the shorter expiration date is still their goal. "We're going to continue to advocate for the 10-year term with the City Council," said Planning Director Raju Mann. "We still believe 10 years is the appropriate timeframe, but this is a step in the right direction."

Ultimately, it will be up to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose district includes the Garden, to decide on the right term. "It is our understanding the Council has the right to shorten the term, lengthen the term, modify the term or eliminate the term," City Planning Department counsel David Karnovsky told the commissioners.

marvelfannumber1 May 7, 2013 3:04 PM

:previous:

"The world's most famous arena"? :haha: Really, more famous than the Colosseum even?

nyc_alex May 7, 2013 4:44 PM

Move Javits to Queens by 2023, build new MSG on part of Javits site by 2028. Then Penn Station can finally start expanding and opening up more. Maybe in 30 years it will be a grand station once again.

I like the idea of MSG moving to the north end of the Javits site. Close to ferry terminal and bus terminal. Close to new 7 train stops. Kind of a long walk from Penn Station however, but maybe there could be some kind of shuttle system.

Submariner May 7, 2013 6:45 PM

So, we can expect a new Penn Station in 20-25 years?

I get the complexity of the issue, but that's unbelievable. Penn Station is a disaster and with train ridership increasing year over year, it's going to be over capacity far before they start building a new one.

yankeesfan1000 May 7, 2013 11:29 PM

^ It's already way over capacity. I like the CPC's suggestion though, 15 sounds good to me.

JACKinBeantown May 8, 2013 12:51 AM

They kicked people out of their homes to build the arena in Brooklyn. They claimed right of eminent domain (for private business in that case, ahem...). Well, this is a real case of eminent domain. The city needs a workable transit hub much more than it needs a basketball arena.. Oh wait, it doesn't need a basketball arena. The Knicks and Rangers are private businesses that only serve those who can afford to buy a ticket to see a bunch of millionaires play games. Penn Station serves literally millions who work in the city, visit from other places, and rely on a working mass transit system to help the overall economy of the city and the region.

Move Penn Station.

CCs77 May 9, 2013 4:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Submariner (Post 6108859)
What was the reason for building MSG right on top of Penn in the first place? I understand that transport is important, but didn't anyone realize just how difficult it would make future expansion for the station?

The thing is that back then transportaion was downsizing. The original Penn Station belonged to Pennsylvania Railroad, a private company, and Amtrak didn't exist yet. The company was near to bankrupcy, the cost of maintain the station was high and with railroad traffic plummeting, the station wasn't longer economically sustainable. They decided to make a smaller station and sell or lease air rights to more proffitable uses.

Grand Central Terminal was about to have a similar fate. The New York Central Railroad, owner of GCT, first build the PanAm Building (now Met-Life) that didn't affected the station and permited to buy some time for it. Anyway, they indeed wanted to demolish the station and some plans were made, nevertheless, given the opposition and mourn that drove the demolition of Penn Station some years earlier, made that the City declared GCT a landmark, saving it.

And that phenomenon is not unique for New York, all over the US, many grand, old train station have been either demolished or abandoned, sometimes being replaced by stations that looks just like a joke, such as the case of Cleveland, Buffalo or Detroit.

In other cases after years of abandonment, and threats of demolition, the grand stations were bring back to the former glory. That's the case of the magnificent Cincinnati Union Terminal, today mainly used as a museum center, housing various institutions like History, Natural History & Science and Children Museums. After two decades without passenger service, in 1991 it was restored, although with a very few weekly services.

The Grand Hall of The Cincinnati Union Terminal

http://imageshack.us/a/img845/6450/8...useummural.jpg


The current Buffalo Station
http://imageshack.us/a/img692/1062/8...epewstatio.jpg


Current Cleveland Station
http://imageshack.us/a/img208/134/80...landamtrak.jpg


Current Detroit Station
http://imageshack.us/a/img209/235/de...knewcenter.jpg

BStyles May 15, 2013 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JACKinBeantown (Post 6119516)
They kicked people out of their homes to build the arena in Brooklyn. They claimed right of eminent domain (for private business in that case, ahem...). Well, this is a real case of eminent domain. The city needs a workable transit hub much more than it needs a basketball arena.. Oh wait, it doesn't need a basketball arena. The Knicks and Rangers are private businesses that only serve those who can afford to buy a ticket to see a bunch of millionaires play games. Penn Station serves literally millions who work in the city, visit from other places, and rely on a working mass transit system to help the overall economy of the city and the region.

Move Penn Station.

Hate to break it to you, but the Knicks and the Rangers have nothing to do with the reason MSG doesn't want to move. And seeing as Eminent Domain plays no factor here, I don't even see why it came up.

Regardless of the outcome, the Knicks and the Rangers are going to get another stadium somewhere in the area, possibly this time on an even larger plot of "unused" land with air rights from here to Beijing. Penn Station really got the short end of the stick, when the Dolans decided to plop an oversized toilet bowl over one of the largest transit hubs in the country, so their really isn't an argument, and I don't see why they're putting up a fight to want to stay because the Garden is "famous."

Hell, the Yankees built a carbon copy, new millennium edition of their stadium from the ground up, directly across the street from the original, and without hesitation, people still call it Yankee Stadium, so I see no reason why the Dolans are being so persistent over a lost cause.

Mister Uptempo May 22, 2013 9:03 PM

City Gives Madison Square Garden Just 15 More Years, But With A Huge Loophole Intact
 
capitalnewyork.com
By Dana Rubinstein
1:08 pm May. 22, 2013

The City Planning Commission today approved a Bloomberg administration proposal to allow Madison Square Garden to operate atop Penn Station for just 15 more years.

The idea, one championed by urban planning organizations, is to pressure Madison Square Garden to move elsewhere, so that the railroads can finally turn the dismal, labyrinthine Penn Station into an urban transit hub befitting a great world city.

"It is over one of the big mass transit centers in the city," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, following a press conference in East Harlem about New York City's new Major League Soccer team. "And for the city to have the flexibility down the road of doing something, I think that's important. And I think giving them 15 years, it isn't like tomorrow. ... It's a lifetime."

Madison Square Garden's 50-year operating permit is expiring, and not unexpectedly, the company wanted it renewed in perpetuity.

They didn't win that battle, but they did win a major loophole.

As Capital first reported on Monday, if, during the Garden's new 15-year permit, it is able to reach a deal with the three railroads that operate beneath it to make improvements to the station, like adding escalators and elevators, and the city's planning commissioner approves that agreement, then the Garden will get a permit to operate atop Penn Station forever.

When I asked Bloomberg earlier today why that exception was needed, the mayor, perhaps not understanding the question, responded rather vaguely: "Because you're right above this mass transit location and if you needed to do something for the greater good of the city, leaving the city in the position of being able to do something down the road. Doesn't mean they're gonna do it. But we would be derelict in our duty, I think, to take that away."

Much more of the story can be found here.

ardecila May 22, 2013 10:08 PM

Hmm... I guess it all depends on what's acceptable to the planning commissioner then. Currently Amanda Burden is in favor of a radical reconstruction of Penn, but when Bloomberg leaves office the next guy (or gal, if it's Quinn) will bring in a new commissioner who might not care as much.

Blaze23 May 29, 2013 5:54 PM

Very interesting proposals for Penn Station, LOVE the SOM proposal.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/0...ealed.php#more

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/LeadImageSOM.jpg

Last month the Municipal Art Society invited four high-profile architecture firms—SHoP Architects, SOM, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro—to come up with ambitious plans for a new Penn Station. The timing was intentional, and apt: Madison Square Garden's permit to operate is expiring, and there a contentious battle has been raging over how long it should be renewed. Those advocating for a new Penn want the Garden's permit to be limited to 10 years, giving the city time to prepare the machinations necessary to relocate the arena, essentially clearing space for the kind of massive, starchitect-designed, innovatively structured transit hubs that the four firms have proposed. Madison Square Garden, however, won't be so easily moved, and the City Planning Commission is currently recommending a 15-year permit with a loophole that would allow the Garden to remain in its spot in perpetuity should it agree to compromise with the trains lines that run below on improvements. But many, including Times archicritic Michael Kimmelman, are holding out hope that the City Council and its speaker Christine Quinn will see the benefit to limiting MSG's operations in order to build a statement-making station, like the ones designed for the challenge.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...nInterior1.jpg
↑ Let's move Madison Square Garden a few blocks southwest to the Morgan postal facility, says SHoP Architects. Let's also get rid of 2 Penn Plaza and redevelop a tower nearby, as well as rezone and build offices in a swath of Midtown south of the station, to make up for the space that would be cleared to make way for their glass-facaded design. Their Penn Station is an "urban bowl," with two parks, a more airy concourse, wider sidewalks and plazas around the three-block site, and a garden towards the top.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...4/SideView.jpg

↑ The proposal by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) incorporates glass walls and skylights so that even "from the tracks you know where you are." They aim to move MSG to a spot just south of the Farley Building, on Eighth Avenue between 30th and 31st streets. Above the station would be a mixed-use complex, with residential space, parks including a skyline garden, offices, and places for cultural/leisure activities.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...Train_Hall.jpg

↑ H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture's plan involves relocating Madison Square Garden to a built-out pier along the Hudson River to the west of the Javits Center, and connecting it to the rest of the city via an elevated walkway for pedestrians and cyclists called the water line. With the freed up land, they would upzone plots all along Seventh Avenue to make way for tall office towers, four of which would occupy the four corners of the Penn Station site. A three-acre roof garden would sit on top of the station, while all of the train lines would use the multi-layered structure whose centerpiece would be an airy 120-foot-high main hall with skylights. Meanwhile, the Farley Post Office would be used as an education center.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...eet%20View.jpg

↑ Meanwhile, Diller Scofidio + Renfro took a more philosophical approach, making much of the idea that a new Penn could be "a city within a city" and combining multiple uses into one multi-layered, porous space that would look like "a large sponge-like mass, aerated from every angle." With MSG moved to behind the Farley building on Ninth Avenue, there's room for a variety of spaces, from a spa to a micro theater to a cascading park. Also imagined are a pool, restaurants, and many surfaces on which to project advertisements. Inside the station, they envision drifting food vendors carrying their wares around their waist (like at a baseball stadium), train arrival and departure times projected onto the floor, and real-time video footage of trains approaching and leaving the station aired onto a large screen. Meanwhile, seizing upon the multifunctionality of the space, travelers will be able to use their mobile phones to see how much time they have until their train, and just how many activities (shopping, dining, leisure) are within their reach while they are killing time, something the firm called "the architecture of waiting."

After all the presentations, Madison Square Garden issued the following (rather biting) statement:

It's curious to see that there are so many ideas on how to tear down a privately owned building that is a thriving New York icon, supports thousands of jobs and is currently completing a $1 billion transformation. These pie-in-the-sky drawings completely ignore the fact that no viable plans or funding to rebuild Penn Station and relocate MSG actually exist. Not that long ago, MSG spent millions of dollars and three years exploring a move to the Farley building as part of the new vision for Moynihan Station. That plan collapsed for a number of reasons that did not involve MSG, but did involve many of the same people now pressuring MSG to move, including The Municipal Art Society, which created enormous obstacles to achieving the relocation. The restoration of Moynihan Station has been a 20-year discussion that has led to very little progress or funding. The fact that this exercise does not include anyone who actually has detailed knowledge of this issue or understands the realities of this complex project exposes this exercise for exactly what it is.

Eidolon May 29, 2013 6:06 PM

^^^

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...ict_Aerial.jpg

Even though it isn't likely to see the light of day, I wonder how tall that tower is? It must be at least 700M tall and if the version of 15 Penn displayed there is still 371M, this building is easily taller. A megatall here would be amazing!

:notacrook:

kpdrummer82 May 29, 2013 7:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eidolon (Post 6145604)
^^^

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...ict_Aerial.jpg

Even though it isn't likely to see the light of day, I wonder how tall that tower is? It must be at least 700M tall and if the version of 15 Penn displayed there is still 371M, this building is easily taller. A megatall here would be amazing!

:notacrook:

Never would they even propose something so ridiculous. The FAA would be on that like a bee indoors. NEVER.

NYguy May 29, 2013 7:36 PM

Something that tall could be built, but these are just ideas. That looks to be the site of the potential Penn East development, itself around 1,000 ft. Interestingly, the 2 Penn plaza site was being considered for an unlimited FAR during the hudson yards rezoning, but the city council killed that.

Crawford May 29, 2013 8:34 PM

Two of the architectural proposals are for 2,000 ft. towers.

And one of the proposals is for 29 million square feet of redevelopment. Holy crap.

marvelfannumber1 May 29, 2013 8:57 PM

I dunno, I might sound a little bit snobbish for saying this. But in my opinion I don't believe that a modern building would really heal the wounds on the MSG site. Sure we got that concrete bowl and box out of the way and have a respectable station instead of some creepy dungeon.

I don't think modern style buildings are the way to go, but that's just me.

Eidolon May 29, 2013 9:16 PM

I like how the SHoP proposal is illustrating the density that might very well be a reality 20 years from now, even though it omits quite alot like the towers like those from the Midtown East Re-Zoning, 57th Street, whatever gets built on the Javits Center site, the northern half of the Hudson Yards district, Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, Madison Square Park.... well, maybe it isn't so adequate in illustrating how much density is going to be added in the next 20 years after all. :P

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...ewayAerial.jpg


Quote:

Originally Posted by kpdrummer82 (Post 6145682)
Never would they even propose something so ridiculous. The FAA would be on that like a bee indoors. NEVER.

As long as La Guardia airport exists, I agree with you. After it's gone though, who knows.

fimiak May 29, 2013 10:01 PM

How does SOM propose to build that glass bubble? That's all I am interested in knowing.

Onn May 30, 2013 2:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 6145833)
Two of the architectural proposals are for 2,000 ft. towers.

And one of the proposals is for 29 million square feet of redevelopment. Holy crap.

2,000 feet! Yes, New York City finally gets the propsals we were talking about eariler. :P

The plans for the station look fantastic too! The level of drama in the designs is just crazy!

hammersklavier May 30, 2013 3:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blaze23 (Post 6145588)

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...nInterior1.jpg
↑ Let's move Madison Square Garden a few blocks southwest to the Morgan postal facility, says SHoP Architects. Let's also get rid of 2 Penn Plaza and redevelop a tower nearby, as well as rezone and build offices in a swath of Midtown south of the station, to make up for the space that would be cleared to make way for their glass-facaded design. Their Penn Station is an "urban bowl," with two parks, a more airy concourse, wider sidewalks and plazas around the three-block site, and a garden towards the top.

I like this one best. It feels like it's the closest to doing the original Penn Station justice.


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