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Check Out Newly Renovated Madison Square Garden

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Yesterday, Madison Square Garden debuted the third and final phase of the arena’s three-year transformation process to the media. The Commercial Observer was on hand to view all of the latest additions to the venue, including the renovated Seventh Avenue entrance and the Chase Bridges. The Garden will open to fans tonight when the New York Knicks take on the Charlotte Bobcats in the team’s final preseason game. The New York Rangers will host the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. Check out photos of the arena and Thursday’s media event after the jump. Read More

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Garden Party: MSG Unveils Transformation

Chase Bridges

After three years and $1 billion, Madison Square Garden officials today unveiled the third and final phase of the arena’s transformation, a spectacular attempt to blend the venue’s rich history with modern amenities.

Flanked by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Madison Square Garden Chief Executive Officer Hank Ratner and The Captains, Willis Reed and Mark Messier, Executive Chairman James Dolan introduced the changes to a crowd of hundreds inside the arena’s newly redesigned 7th Avenue entrance.

“I’m a very proud New Yorker today,” Mr. Dolan declared to applause before beginning his prepared remarks. Read More

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Christine Quinn Calls for 10-Year Permit for MSG

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City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has announced her support for a new Penn Station in a letter to Madison Square Garden President and CEO Hank Ratner, suggesting the Garden be granted a 10-year special permit to operate an arena of more than 2,500 seats.

In her letter to Mr. Ratner, Ms. Quinn contrasted the “thrilling moments” experienced by New Yorkers at Madison Square Garden against the congested commuting experience at Penn Station. Read More

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City Planning Proposes 15-Year Limit for MSG Special Permit

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At a meeting yesterday, the City Planning Commission proposed a 15-year term for Madison Square Garden’s application for a special permit to operate an arena of more than 2,500 seats. The proposal, some way short of MSG’s request the permit be renewed in perpetuity, is still a small victory over previous suggestions of a 10-year limit.

Opponents of Madison Square Garden’s request point to the need for a renovated Penn Station, a process which is inhibited by the arena’s location. A term limit, they say, provides ample time for both Madison Square Garden to find a new location and for plans for a new Penn Station to be drawn up. Read More

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Opponents and Defenders of MSG Spar at Planning Commission Hearing

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Shortly into yesterday’s City Planning Commission public hearing on the special permit application for Madison Square Garden—an event that would stretch into the evening—a comparison to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was made. It was an early indication of what would be a recurring theme throughout the day.

A number of obstacles facing the Garden, from its age and inferior infrastructure to its request for special signage, were brought to the fore as Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden heard from a list of 50 speakers, ranging from State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried to former New York Knick Larry Johnson, he of the four-point play. Read More

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New York Civic Groups Team Up to Promote New Penn Station

The Regional Plan Association and Municipal Art Society have launched a campaign to promote the renovation of Penn Station and possible relocation of Madison Square Garden, it was announced today.

As previously reported by The Commercial Observer, Madison Square Garden is seeking renewal of its special permit application to operate an arena with more than 2,500 seats. Last month, Community Board 5 recommended any permit be restricted to 10 years. The application will also be reviewed by the Manhattan Borough President and City Planning Commission before a decision is made by the City Council. Read More

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CB 5 Recommends Denial of Proposed MSG Special Permit Application

At a meeting last night, Community Board 5 in Manhattan unanimously recommended a proposed special permit application from Madison Square Garden to operate an arena with more than 2,500 seats be denied unless certain parameters are met, Wally Rubin, district manager, told The Commercial Observer this morning.

“Just to be clear, this isn’t about any frustrations or lack of understanding that the Garden is an important part of New York and is an economic driver for the City,” added Raju Mann, acting chair of CB5’s Land Use Committee.

The Garden is currently going through New York’s uniform land use review procedure (ULURP) to renew the special permit.

The Garden’s original special permit expired last month and the arena is currently operating under a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy. The TCO is standard while a building is under construction, according to a Madison Square Garden spokesperson. Read More