Madison Square Garden, home to the Knicks, the Rangers, the Ice Capades, the circus and the “Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971, received an eviction notice of sorts on Wednesday.
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The New York City Council notified the arena that it has 10 years to vacate its 45-year-old premises and find a new home, the Garden’s fifth since it opened in 1879.
By a vote of 47 to 1, the Council voted to extend the Garden’s special operating permit for merely a decade — not in perpetuity, as the owners of the Garden had requested, or 15 years, as the Bloomberg administration had intended.
Ten years should be enough time, officials said, for the Garden to find a new location and for the city to devise plans for an expanded Pennsylvania Station, which currently sits below the Garden, and the redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhood.
“This is the first step in finding a new home for Madison Square Garden and building a new Penn Station that is as great as New York and suitable for the 21st century,” said Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker. “This is an opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world-class transportation destination.”
Ms. Quinn renewed her call for the creation of a commission to devise the plans.
Civic leaders and some developers have long sought to rebuild Penn Station, a cramped and crowded maze for the more than 500,000 people a day who traverse it. But doing so would be an enormously complicated, multibillion-dollar undertaking that has foiled officials in the past. And anything can happen in the next 10 years, including several elections for mayor and governor.
James L. Dolan, who controls the Garden, the Knicks and the Rangers, offered a low-key response to the news that barely acknowledged the 10-year deadline. Mr. Dolan expects to complete this fall a $968 million overhaul of the Garden, which has been closing in its off-seasons to accommodate the work.
“Madison Square Garden has operated at its current site for generations, and has been proud to bring New Yorkers some of the greatest and most iconic moments in sports and entertainment,” Mr. Dolan’s company said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. “We now look forward to the reopening of the arena in the fall of 2013.”
Mr. Dolan announced the latest renovation of the Garden in 2008, just after the last $14 billion effort to move the Garden and transform the train station collapsed amid a severe recession, insufficient financing, an absence of political leadership and overreaching by the developers selected for the job.
Late last year, the Regional Plan Association and the Municipal Art Society used the Garden’s application for an extension of its permit to resurrect the idea. The Bloomberg administration recommended a 15-year extension. But that city proposal also allowed the city’s Planning Department to further extend the permit if officials failed to come up with plans for a new station, and the Garden and the transit operators agreed on a plan for improved access to the station.
“Our goal from the outset was to improve Penn Station. In fact, our proposal would have required government leaders to come together and develop a plan to do just that,” said Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Critics derided the Bloomberg administration for including what they described as a loophole. Ms. Quinn, who is a Democratic candidate for mayor, called instead for a firm 10-year extension. Bill de Blasio and John C. Liu, two other candidates, also called on the Garden to move. Joseph J. Lhota, a Republican candidate and a former executive at the Garden, and William C. Thompson Jr., a Democrat, backed the Garden.