Madison Square Garden’s special permit to operate as an arena with more than 2,500 seats expired in January. But last night, Community Board 5 recommended that any permit renewal be denied unless the facility can meet certain requirements, Wally Rubin, district manager, told the New York Observer.
Currently MSG is operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy but is also proceeding through New York’s uniform land use review procedure in an attempt to renew its special permit.
However, the Community Board would like to see MSG’s permit restricted to 10 years to allow for careful planning for the futures of both the arena and Penn Station, according to Rubin. The board is also asking that any signage at MSG be limited to its original parameters and not expanded. MSG had been asking to more than double the size of its signage so that it could add four 77-foot LED display panels.
Community Board 5 is also pushing to eliminate MSG’s tax abatement, which has been in place since the early 1980s, Rubin told the Observer, as well as asking that improvements to Penn Station not hinge on improvement to the arena’s block.
“What we are saying is: we need a world class sports arena and we need a world class train terminal and one should not preclude the other,” Rubin said. [NYO] —Christopher Cameron