MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — The future of Madison Square Garden is being reviewed by the New York City Planning Commission and the decision later this summer could mean big changes for the area.
Known as the world’s most famous arena, it’s also one of the busiest places on the planet. For more than 6 hours on Wednesday, executives from MSG, the MTA, and then members of the public addressed the commissioners.
When it was built, the City of New York granted the owners a special-use permit allowing capacity crowds.
On Wednesday, the planning commission began the procedure to consider renewing that permit again. It was renewed 10 years ago and is up at the end of July.
The MTA, Amtrak, and NJ Transit say the arena is getting in the way of improving transit.
Jamie Torres Springer, the head of MTA Capital and Construction, said projects aren’t possible without the arena contributing to compatibility. The rail agencies said there was a pathway to compromise, and MSG executives said they had met with MTA.
Transit is suggesting more 8th Avenue access which would change the configuration of the area that currently houses the theatre and taxi lanes.
The arena would get some areas for loading and moving around trucks.
MSG officials are asking for a lease in perpetuity.
Without the renewal, their seating capacity would be limited. That could mean the garden would have to move for a term of three or five years or another length of time.
Richard Constable with MSG said stability is good for all parties involved.
Stakeholders and neighbors also addressed the board.
The planning commission will schedule a vote and make a recommendation to the administration and city council, which also has to vote.
The decision is expected to be made before the July deadline.