MSG Nears Move

Sources have told media outlets since September that NYC’s Madison Square Garden might soon be moving, and the latest information hints that the deal is nearly complete.

Rumors were that MSG would be razed and moved westward and built on the end of the James A. Farley Post Office. Reports now say the venue’s owner, Cablevision, has struck a tentative agreement to do so in a $3 billion development deal that would include a new train station, offices and shops, according to The Wall Street Journal.

MSG signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding several weeks ago with Related Cos., a private developer, and Vornado Realty Trust, an investment firm, the paper said.

This would be the fifth incarnation of the Garden, which has been around in one shape or another since P.T. Barnum opened the first building in 1874. The current venue sits atop the bustling Pennsylvania Station, and sources say the tentative deal includes office towers rising above the historic railway hub.

The current location has reportedly long been on the wish list of real estate mogul and Vornado chief Steven Roth. The company owns several adjacent properties. Related Cos. is said to be politically connected and is known for taking on complicated, mixed-use urban projects.

“It’s almost a precondition that the Garden has to move for Penn Plaza to fulfill its destiny as a first-class office center,” real estate exec Mary Ann Tighe told The New York Times in September. “It’s logical that a great transportation hub like Pennsylvania Station be surrounded by some of the city’s great office towers.”

The office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged Cablevision to move its venue in 2003 and 2004, in hopes of quelling the company’s complaints about a proposed stadium for the New York Jets. Cablevision insisted on its present location, saying it would add $300 million in improvements.

“It’s ironic that Cablevision may come out of this a double winner, not only defeating the Jets but achieving an optimal location,” Tighe said.

A spokeswoman for MSG declined to comment on the tentative deal.