Metro

Mayor Adams willing to talk moving world’s most famous arena

Mayor Eric Adams opened the door Wednesday to talks with Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan about moving “the world’s most famous arena” amidst the state’s ongoing Penn Station Redevelopment talks. 

“I am open. The Penn Station project is a crucial one. I think that area is ripe for housing, is ripe for real investment,” Hizzoner said during a Crain’s New York ‘Power Breakfast’ hosted at the New York Athletic Club. 

“And if that fits into Madison Square Garden moving into another location – maybe we’ll help the Knicks win,” he joked.

“So we should be willing to speak with Mr. Dolan and see how it fits into the overall scheme of that area.” 

Adams said the Pennsylvania Plaza space surrounding MSG could be a great place for new housing stock – of which the city is in desperate need – admitting he would welcome new development.

ERIC ADAMS
Mayor Eric Adams is open to moving Madison Square Garden.
Getty Images for Concordia Summit
NEW YORK
Adams believes the relocation could be great for housing stock.
Getty Images/Noam Galai

“I think that we can find the right balance between office and housing,” he said. 

“We have to build more housing. There’s a real need for housing in the city and particularly in areas that have access to transportation, good health care, good schools.” 

Adams’ entry into the conversation follows repeated efforts by community members and local representatives – Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and State Sens. Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman – to push state leaders to agree on moving the sporting and entertainment complex which they argue would allow for a true redevelopment of the neighborhood.

The plan is backed by Gov. Kathy Hochul and was originally a pet project favored by disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

It has also been criticized as a cash grab that will drain city finances and serve to benefit real estate developers – chiefly Vornado Realty Trust. 

Before the plan came out, Crain’s revealed Dolan was involved in secret talks with real estate titan Related Companies to possibly relocate the arena to Hudson Yards. But Hochul reportedly got involved and killed the plan, according to Crain’s.

Owner James Dolan
Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan has had multiple conversations about relocation but he wants to stay put.
Getty Images/Ethan Miller

But Dolan’s fight to stay put is not new. 

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted to move the stadium closer to Manhattan’s west side, but the proposal was scuttled by opposition from Dolan who marshaled reinforcement in the form of powerful political forces – the former, late state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  

“The Penn Station area is way, way out of balance. So he is opening his mind to the right point of view,” said Alexandros Washburn, Bloomberg’s former Chief Urban Designer and now executive director the Grand Penn Community Alliance, which favors moving MSG.

Rendering of renovated Penn Station
The MTA board approved a $57 million contract for the Penn Station renovation.
New York Governor’s Office

“Amtrak got a beautiful train hall but commuters need a better deal. If we create a park and train station like no other in the center of this neighborhood that lets the whole neighborhood around it rebuild its housing, it’s community space,” he added.

Meanwhile, the MTA board Wednesday approved a $57 million contract for the Penn Station renovation’s architectural and engineering designs. 

MTA CEO Janno Lieber said the focus would be on bringing “light” into the nation’s largest transit hub.

“We’re going to add a ton of vertical circulation. That’s stairs, escalators and elevators to get people on and off the platforms,” he said.

A representative from MSG did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Post.

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