Trainspotter 0 Posted March 28, 2008 Share #1 Posted March 28, 2008 Madison Square Garden backs out of Penn Station redevelopment plan BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER March 28th 2008 [float=right] Sabo/News Madison Square Garden's move to pull out of the Moynihan Station deal could doom the project. [/float]Madison Square Garden dealt a potential death blow to the faltering Moynihan Station Thursday night by abandoning a plan to move across the street as the centerpiece of the new rail hub. The Garden's owners will instead renovate the 40-year-old arena. The stunning decision could kill the plan to replace gloomy Penn Station with a handsome new hub named for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Keeping the storied sports arena in place on Eighth Ave. also undermines another $11 billion in public-private plans to build 7 million square feet of office and retail space in the drab neighborhood along 33rd St. That's because shifting the Garden to the Ninth Ave. side of the Farley Post Office would have freed up development rights for 4.5 million square feet of new construction that cannot be tapped if the arena stays put. Furor against the Garden's corporate parent - Cablevision, the Long Island-based behemoth long reviled by New Yorkers for running both the arena and the Knicks into the ground - was instant and emotional. "The announcement demonstrates a callous disregard for both the future of the Moynihan Station project and the future of New York City - as well as disrespect for the legacy of Sen. Moynihan," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. Some officials close to the development labeled the Cablevision announcement a "bargaining tactic" that would not scuttle the sparkling mini-city planned for west midtown's core. "We don't think it's in [the Garden's] best interest to stay there," one official said. "They probably know that themselves, and probably will come back to the table." The Related Companies/Vornado Realty partnership, which hopes to build six skyscrapers as part of the Moynihan Station initiative, remained optimistic. The much-ballyhooed development was foundering before the Garden picked up its marbles. Funding commitments for the $3 billion Moynihan Station had fallen $1.2 billion short, and the state economic development official running the show bailed after ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer quit in disgrace. A ray of hope surfaced early Thursday when Sen. Chuck Schumer called for the Port Authority to "immediately take over the design, management and implementation of the project" to get it back on track. Hours later, Garden spokesman Barry Watkins threw out a bombshell. In a press release that clearly caught Albany and City Hall off guard, he said, "After exploring several alternatives, it has become clear that the only viable option is a renovation." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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