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Madison Square Garden backs out of Penn Station redevelopment plan


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Madison Square Garden backs out of Penn Station redevelopment plan



March 28th 2008




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."

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Wow that sucks for us. I think the owners of MSG are just being greedy. Remember the old West Side Rail yards wars with the stadium. Originally it was suppose to simply go to the Jets but then Dolan began to bid against them in fear of competition with MSG. I really hope something can happen, especially that Moynihan Station plan, it seemed like there was some hope to that.

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You know, I didn't realize that MSG has not paid taxes since 1982 ( I heard in was 11 million in taxes per year unpaid) until my dad just told me. I think its obvious that they are being greedy and they probably want something big in return. What a shame for sure.

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