According to a report from the New York Times today, the City of New York has sort of, kind of, seriously told James Dolan that he has to move Madison Square Garden in 10 years, regardless of the fact that he just dropped $1-billion on the current renovations.
The New York City Council notified the arena that it has 10 years to vacate its 45-year-old premises and find a new home, the Garden's fifth since it opened in 1879.
By a vote of 47 to 1, the Council voted to extend the Garden's special operating permit for merely a decade - not in perpetuity, as the owners of the Garden had requested, or 15 years, as the Bloomberg administration had intended.
"This is the first step in finding a new home for Madison Square Garden and building a new Penn Station that is as great as New York and suitable for the 21st century," said Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker. "This is an opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world-class transportation destination."
So, uh, yeah, good luck with that New York City Council. As I said above, Dolan just dropped a billion dollars on the current renovations, and the City expects him to use the new arena for ten years? Right.
Remember, too, that Dolan did try to move the Garden and renovate Penn Station in 2008, plans that fell through which lead to Dolan announcing the current changes to MSG.
Expect this to be a fight, guys, especially since the City Council doesn't seem to think this is a big deal at all.
Anyway, I'll leave you with Dolan's response to this:
James L. Dolan, who controls the Garden, the Knicks and the Rangers, offered a low-key response to the news that barely acknowledged the 10-year deadline. Mr. Dolan expects to complete this fall a $968 million overhaul of the Garden, which has been closing in its off-seasons to accommodate the work.
"Madison Square Garden has operated at its current site for generations, and has been proud to bring New Yorkers some of the greatest and most iconic moments in sports and entertainment," Mr. Dolan's company said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. "We now look forward to the reopening of the arena in the fall of 2013."
This should be fun. I don't see Dolan backing down, and I kind of don't see how New York expects this to go over smoothly, so, keep tuned to this one.