A City Council vote on Monday, August 28th extended Madison Square Garden’s permit above Penn Station another five years, cutting the Adams Administration’s 10 year suggestion in half.
The iconic venue was coming up on the end of its current permit that was issued in 2013 for 10 years. Apparently, MSG owner, James Dolan, had hoped to get a permanent extension of the permit.
“A short-term special permit is not in anyone’s best interest and undermines the ability to immediately revamp Penn Station and the surrounding area,” MSG Entertainment shared in a statement.
Yet, elected officials feel differently. According to The Real Deal, “Elected officials hope a shorter timeline will pressure the arena to reach a deal with the rail agencies or find a new home.”
The permit renewal mandates that MSG comply with a transportation management plan to alleviate conflicts between pedestrian access on West 31st Street and the arena’s loading operations, explained The Real Deal.
Additionally, city zoning laws require that any arena larger than 2,500 seats must obtain a special permit. This means that come 2028, MSG must undergo the land use review process again. And if the permit is not extended, MSG would need to find a new home, one that’s not above Penn Station.
“I believe this term strikes the right balance between long and short,” said New York City Council member, Erik Bottcher. “It’s short enough to keep the pressure on, but enough time to do something meaningful.” Bottcher expanded on that, sharing that the timeline will help make right the decades old demolition of the Old Penn Station. It was that demolition in 1963 that made way for a 50-year permit MSG was originally operating on.
But for now, if you’re planning to attend a Knicks or Rangers game in the next few years, you’ll experience the arena as it is above Penn Station.