MSG owner James Dolan shows no signs of moving the arena

Time’s working out on Madison Square Garden’s 10-year working allow — however owner James Dolan doesn’t appear involved and the activists who dream of demolishing the arena to make method for a brand new Penn Station could also be thwarted as soon as once more.

Community Board 5, which covers Midtown, says that the single largest obstacle to a real renovation of the dingy, low-ceilinged practice station is getting rid of the big stadium on high of it — for which Dolan has lengthy paid no property taxes.

Last month, the MTA unveiled plans for 2 doable methods of renovating Penn Station that might not require moving MSG. One proposes remaking the station right into a single-level facility; the different would preserve each ranges however create an atrium in a former Amtrak ready space.

The board, nonetheless, helps architect Vishaan Chakrarbarti’s so-called “Miracle on 34th Street” eco-friendly plan, which requires constructing a brand new MSG on thirty fourth Street throughout from Macy’s and repurposing the current arena right into a “safe, affordable and light-filled” Penn Station that will get the 880,000 each day vacationers “out of the basement.”

But Dolan shows no signs of budging and technically he doesn’t should. Expiration of the present working allow doesn’t imply he has to bodily go away MSG, which he owns.

James Dolan
James Dolan enjoys a sweetheart tax deal during which MSG pays zero in property taxes.
USA TODAY Sports

And even some activists who would like to see MSG gone from its Penn Station perch admit privately that speak of moving it has gone on for many years with out fruition and nothing is prone to change between now and 2023.

“We can’t afford to pass on the once-in-a generation federal infrastructure opportunity under President Biden, and deny New Yorkers a world-class Penn Station while a few planners continue their 30-year-long debate about moving MSG,” Abbey Collins, a spokesperson for the MTA advised The Post. 

MSG was granted a 50-year working allow in 1963 and the Dolans requested for a allow in perpetuity in 2013. Instead, they got 10 years to maneuver. A supply conversant in the scenario advised The Post that the Dolans will ask once more for a allow in perpetuity in 2023.

Dolan additionally enjoys a sweetheart tax deal, gifted by then-Mayor Ed Koch in 1982, which has MSG paying zero in property taxes — whereas homeowners of one-bedroom residences in the Midtown neighborhood are forking over $14,000 a yr.

Koch signed off on the plan as a result of at the time so much of sports activities groups (the Devils, the Giants and the Nets) had moved to New Jersey, the Jets would transfer two years later, and the Knicks and Rangers had been threatening to cross the Hudson.

“It’s a total tax boondoggle,” mentioned state Sen. Brian Kavanagh, who has sponsored two bills lately geared toward repealing MSG’s tax exemption, which in any other case would have poured about $550 million into metropolis coffers over the years. “It was never meant to go on forever and it makes no sense.”

But Dolan doesn’t appear apprehensive. Dolan’s Cablevision firm has been the largest donor to Gov. Cuomo over the years, having given $552,900 to his marketing campaign, in line with Followthemoney.org. And the Madison Square Garden Political Action Committee has additionally donated to seven sitting City Council members in addition to two Council candidates, in addition to metropolis comptroller and mayoral hopefuls, in line with metropolis data.

Dolan advised The Post via a spokesperson that he helps Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to enhance Penn Station and the space.

But that plan, a large undertaking that includes constructing 10 skyscrapers round the station, is controversial. Lawmakers just lately managed to limit $1.3 billion in legislative funding to transportation initiatives solely in an effort to forestall taxpayer cash from getting used to fund the skyscrapers.

Dolan’s spokeswoman declined touch upon MSG tax breaks or efforts to drive the transfer of the arena.

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