Community Board Five’s Land Use, Housing & Zoning Committee voted in a meeting on Wednesday to advance plans for a massive undertaking in Midtown involving the conversion of Madison Square Garden into a new concourse for Penn Station, and the creation of a new home for the sports facility between two supertall skyscrapers near Herald Square. Initially proposed in 2016 by Vishaan Chakrabarti, founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), new renderings give visual context to the plan, to which the city council agreed with the consideration of The Madison Square Garden Company’s acquisition of a shorter extension of its current lease.
PAU’s initiatives previously included the removal of the arena interiors, expansion of the transportation concourse floors, addition of passive heating and cooling, improvements to the northern and western entrances to the facility, and the addition of new platforms and tracks in conjunction with the proposed $13 billion Gateway Program. The cylindrical shape of the building would be preserved, but several levels of floors would be removed and the exterior would be re-clad in a new double-skin glass curtain wall, enabling natural light to flood the open interior and its 153-foot-high span from the ceiling to the platforms.
Madison Square Garden would move to an eight-acre site consisting of two full-block parcels bound by Sixth Avenue to the east, West 32nd Street to the south, Seventh Avenue to the west, and West 34th Street to the north. Straddling the new arena is a pair of supertall skyscrapers and two shorter towers, anchoring all four corners of a raised podium above street level.
The rendering below gives an impression of the design and scale of the buildings and their impact on the Manhattan skyline. Whether or not these are close to Vishaan’s intended design is unclear, but they would easily eclipse the height of the Empire State Building and Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 30 Hudson Yards, becoming a focal point of lower Midtown, and anchoring the neighborhood with a Rockefeller Center-esque presence.
The diagram below shows almost 700,000 square feet of underutilized zoning that currently exists on the proposed plot. The proposed rezoning could amount to the following: a little over 2,000,000 square feet of office space; nearly 537,000 square feet of retail space; 895,000 square feet of hotel space; around 353,000 square feet of secondary commercial space; and nearly 64,000 square feet of storage space. The maximum area can total around 4,560,000 square feet with an floor area ratio of 14.49.
Other smaller properties are also part of the initiative to redevelop the Penn Station vicinity. 34th Street would be flanked by both Macy’s and the new entrance to Madison Square Garden, with separate entrances to offices, retail, residences, and a hotel.
A preliminary rendering for the proposed and relocated Madison Square Garden complex, designed by PAU is included below.
Mr. Chakrabarti formally estimated that the new makeover of the space could generate $3 billion in revenue to pay for the audacious Penn Station undertaking.
No word on has been given on a possible timeline for the project.