No Slam Dunk for Madison Square Garden: Community Board Refuses Arena’s Use Permit

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Madison Square Garden (Courtesy of doriandsp/Flickr)

Madison Square Garden. (Courtesy doriandsp/Flickr)

It has been a rough year for Madison Square Garden. First, upstaged by the arrival of the brand new Barclays Center, and now, the Penn-station-topping arena faces an uphill battle to renew a permit that allows it to function as a sports venue after Manhattan’s Community Board 5 voted down the extension request.

The Commercial Observer reported that the sports arena is undergoing a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), and at a meeting last week, Community Board 5 (CB5) unanimously voted to deny the Garden’s request for a special permit seeking operating rights in perpetuity, and any additional large-scale outdoor signage. CB5 would also like to do away with the Garden’s tax abatement, which The New York Times said was “estimated to have cost the city $300 million,” and recommends a new permit that will be limited to a 10-year period.

With changes in the works for Penn Station—including a proposed plan to move Amtrak to the James A. Farley Building across the street— CB5 wants to ensure that improving the congested transit hub remains a priority.

The Dolan family, who owns the Garden, has a long way to go before the ULURP process is over. Next up, they’ll go through the Borough President review.

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