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Civic Groups Win Decisive Battle in Effort to Rebuild NYC's Penn Station

With two City Council committee votes this week, civic groups and New York's most prominent architecture critic appear to have won their very public battle to ultimately boot Madison Square Garden from atop Penn Station, reports Matt Chaban.
June 27, 2013, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Like so many epic matches at Madison Square Garden, the fight over the future of the arena’s special permit went many rounds. In the end though, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered the crucial blow, leaving the presumed underdogs, the preservationists and transit advocates, the victor as two City Council committees unanimously approved a 10-year permit for the Garden Wednesday," writes Chaban.

"The Garden, controlled by the Dolan family, had hoped to have its permit extended a bit longer. In fact, they insisted that it should be granted in perpetuity, arguing such was the case for other athletic facilities in the city. But a number of civic groups fought against the effort, arguing for a term-limited permit that might help resuscitate negotiations over relocating the arena so that Penn Station, trapped underneath the Garden for half a century, might be rebuilt and expanded."

"The Dolans managed a few small victories while the arena remains in place," adds Chaban. "The Garden will now be able to display sponsor messages on new electronic billboards being installed on the outside of the arena as part of the application. Council also gave them two additional electronic signs, one on 31st Street and the other on 32nd Street."

The final Council vote is expected in a few weeks. 

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Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 in Crain's New York Business
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