MSG Stays Put

After years of expectation that Madison Square Garden would relocate, the iconic New York City venue announced it is staying put – and the backlash was immediate.

"It’s insulting to everybody," Kent Barwick, president of the Municipal Art Society, told the New York Times. "This is the most significant project on the horizon for the city of New York. There’s no other transportation project that has so much promise to not only strengthen the transportation system but to spark development in a new section of town."

A $14 billion proposal was under way, if slowly, to relocate MSG to the James A. Farley Post Office, down the street from its current location atop Penn Station. MSG announced renovations to the venue in February but the announcement March 27th that the venue was going forward with the plans "as the only viable option" upset city planners like Barwick.

The relocation project has its roots in the 1990s, when Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan first recommended the post office site. The relocation of MSG, which has had four homes in its more than 130-year history, was pursued more actively before the downturn in the housing economy and during a different political climate.

However, Barwick’s frustration is due in part to recent indications that the financial problems were getting resolved, according to the Times. City Council President Christine Quinn didn’t pull any punches, telling the paper that the Garden’s announcement "demonstrates a callous disregard for both the future of the Moynihan Station project and the future of New York City."

Recent upgrades to the arena include conversions of several sections of seats to VIP areas with leather seating and flat-panel TVs, upgraded boxes in two sections near the floor to allow for more space per spectator and the addition of six new VIP boxes called the Lofts, near the court-level entrance ramps. A new scoreboard also will be installed and a members-only club for season ticket holders is expected to be completed this spring, according to the Times.

Although exact dollar amounts for the renovations weren’t disclosed, the paper estimated the upgraded facilities could bring in millions of dollars in additional revenues for the venue.