Madison Square Garden Wastes 1 Billion in Renovations

Madison Square Garden (MSG) is arguably one of the most legendary and historic buildings in North American professional sport. The Garden hosts professional basketball and ice hockey, as well as boxing, concerts, ice shows, and circuses. It is also a multi-level facility providing room for the Knicks’ practise court underneath the ice surface, and two floors below that resides Pennsylvania Station (which so happens to be a main commuter station from New York to New Jersey via rail) of the New York City subway system. Since its grand opening on February 11, 1968, it has become well known as the oldest, oldest arena in the National Hockey League and the second-oldest arena in the National Basketball Association. Additionally, the Garden is the third busiest concert performing arena in the world in terms of ticket revenue.

As MSG has aged over time it has become outdated in many contexts, and thus has been in off-seasonal renovations for the last three years. In order for these expensive renovations to proceed, ticket prices were raised to help raise money for the 1 billion dollar renovation cost. With construction now complete, Madison Square Garden has never looked better. It can now continue to thrive as America’s most monumental arena in the heart of New York City. Unfortunately however  City Council have plans of their own, one that requires the destruction and relocation of MSG.

As the tired and decrepit Pennsylvania Station lies directly underneath the Garden, the city has made plans to update the station with a renovation of its own beginning in 2023. This in turn sadly means MSG will have no further place to stay on 7th Avenue a decade from today. Recently, On July 24, the City Council voted to give the Garden a ten year operating permit by a vote of 47 to 1. With such a one sided vote, it seems a billion dollars of hard earned money from fans and sponsors is going to waste. As thousands of local residents sleep cold and unfed on the streets of New York City, it seems quite clear this billion dollars was spent foolishly. Other positive alternatives that could have potentially helped the lives of thousands (if not millions) has been irrationally thrown into this historic building. There has been no indication of when City Council met and told contractors/owners about their plans to renovate the subway station either. So for all the public knows, these plans could have been foretold years ago and yet the renovations still persisted. If indeed the owner of MSG has been informed of such city plans, should renovations not been stopped as to save money? This was an ill-advised business move as a billion dollars has truly been wasted.

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2 Responses to Madison Square Garden Wastes 1 Billion in Renovations

  1. jw09ea says:

    This mess seems to be a product of poor communication among the various stakeholders of the two projects. If they had planned this situation better they could have potentially renovated Madison Square Garden and Penn Station simultaneously and potentially saved a lot of money. Considering the importance of Madison Square Garden to Manhattan and the 10 year window they have I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two sides come to an agreement that keeps the arena in place. The proximity to the train station makes it the perfect site for a facility that is considered to be the hub of the borough, much like the Air Canada Centre and Union Station in Toronto.

  2. ja03xj says:

    The city vote is concerning but very few people if any think the Knicks & rangers will be looking for a new home in 10 years. The Garden as you pointed out was in need of major upgrades, with the Barclays center opening in Brooklyn, MSG was forced to finally compete for special events & concerts. This will be a issue to watch to see what develops.

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