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MSG May Move Out West (One Block)

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The owners of New York City’s Madison Square Garden are in talks with two developers to build the fifth incarnation of the legendary arena, one block west of its current home above Pennsylvania Station.

If the project does move forward, the new MSG would be built at the western side of the James A. Farley Post Office, according to executives who have been briefed on the negotiations between the Garden and developers. The Farley Post Office is being transformed into a new transit hub to be called Moynihan Station.

The New York Times reported on Monday that the new Garden would improve on the arena’s cramped and inefficient quarters by featuring wide concourses with store and restaurants, luxury boxes with better sight lines for basketball and hockey games, a museum and a hall of fame.

Like the three prior incarnations of the Garden, the existing round structure that currently sits amid the Penn Plaza office complex would be demolished and replaced by skyscrapers containing a mix of luxury apartments, office space and stores.

“It’s almost a precondition that the Garden has to move for Penn Plaza to fulfill its destiny as a first-class office center,” Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive of CB Richard Ellis in New York and a former real estate adviser to the Garden told the paper. “It’s logical that a great transportation hub like Pennsylvania Station be surrounded by some of the city’s great office towers.”

The move is also tangled in political schemes, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has urged Cablevision to move the Garden in 2003 and 2004, in hopes of quelling the company’s fears about the proposed New York Jets west side statdium. But Cablevision stayed at its present location and planned to add $300 million in improvements. The Jets stadium plan eventually fell apart amid the controversy.

“It’s ironic that Cablevision may come out of this a double winner, not only defeating the Jets, but achieving an optimal location,” Tighe told the paper.

According to the Times, the cost of moving to a new location could far exceed $500 million, which could pose a large problem for developers. Neither side would talk publicly about the project. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers