If you’ve been to Madison Square Garden (or its website) lately, you may have seen the wall of photos touting the $500 million renovation (new floor-level luxury suites, expanded concessions space, a bar in the blue seats, etc) that is to take place over the next two summers.
Maybe that should be, was to take place: According to an email sent by the New York Liberty to their fans this morning, the women’s basketball team will be back at the Garden next summer — which would be difficult if the place were being renovated.
What happened to the renovation plans? Cablevision officials wouldn’t comment for the record, but a Liberty fan reports being told by a team official in a follow-up phone call that the renovation has been “delayed.”
Given that there’s almost no chance that the Knicks and Rangers will be asked to decamp for Radio City Music Hall or the Prudential Center next fall — that stuff’s for girls — this likely means a summer 2010 start date at the earliest for the big work, which probably pushes back completion of the project to fall 2011.
And that’s if the project happens at all. When the Garden renovation was first announced back in 2004, it was projected to cost $300 million; after being set aside for a few years while Cablevision considered a now-dead plan to build a new arena behind the Farley Post Office building, it reemerged this April with a half-billion-dollar price tag.
That seemed steep even then; now that people are investing heavily in mattress-based securities, it may be tricky for Cablevision to earn back its expenses by selling glitzier luxury suites. (Though it’s worth noting that Jets premium ticket sales seem to have survived the end of the world quite nicely.)
So don’t be too surprised if blue seat denizens are still getting themselves drunk the old-fashioned way for a few more seasons, at least.