MSG Overhaul

Madison Square Garden owner Cablevision has unveiled details of the massive renovation of the 40-year-old New York landmark.

The Garden is expected to have a $500 million overhaul that will include a complete gutting of the interior and a new lobby. Construction is expected to take place between 2009 and 2011 with no effect on the schedules of the Knicks or the Rangers, although the Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association may play a season elsewhere, according to the New York Times.

The seating bowl will be completely rebuilt, and the luxury suites are expected to move from the top of the building to mid-level, according to the paper. Seating – 18,000 to 19,000 – would remain the same, according to Newsday. A 25-foot-high skylight will be built over a lobby that will be twice the current size. Two restaurants will be added, and the arena will have 50 percent more space for bathrooms.

Also, an exterior wall is expected to be torn down and replaced with glass.

Existing suites will be larger, reducing the number from 89 to 86. Meanwhile, 68 mid-level suites will be added. Improvements will be made in dressing rooms, locker rooms, green rooms and production offices for athletes and performers, according to MSG.

"We think this is a great project for the city," MSG vice chair Hank Ratner told the Times. "We’re going to spend $500 million of our own money. We think we’ll make everybody in New York City proud to call this their arena."

The news comes on the heels of efforts to move MSG down the street to the James A. Farley Post Office as part of a $14 billion plan to build a new Pennsylvania Station. A renovated MSG was not what the mayor’s office wanted.

"We haven’t seen the Garden’s plan yet, but we will be reviewing it," John Gallagher, a spokesman for mayor Michael Bloomberg, told the Times. "We still think that it is in their best interest to build a new arena."