Madison Square Garden Transformation Project, New York City


The 985,000-sq-ft project to build a new arena within Madison Square Garden's circular shell took three years and a complex array of scheduling, logistics and infrastructure upgrades to complete.

The project included expanding the 7th Avenue entrance and installing new MEP and HVAC systems, escalators, seating, luxury suites, dressing rooms and numerous concession outlets. Work also focused on full-service dining facilities, a heritage museum, retail boutiques and a party deck.

Among the project's main features are its Chase Sky Bridges. These twin suspension bridges measure 233 ft long and 22 ft wide and sit high above the arena floor. To accomplish this, life-size bridge models were built and tested before construction, using the same means and methods used to build the Grand Canyon Skywalk in Arizona.

To ensure the project's on-time delivery, the team developed a schedule that allowed for major installations to occur during three "dark summers"—each of which lasted 20 weeks when Madison Square Garden would be closed. Work that occurred during these times was meticulously planned and executed.

Upgrading MSG's 985,000 sq ft of infrastructure during such a short "dark" time line was difficult. But during this time, the team installed sections of new MEP systems and interconnected them with MSG's existing antiquated MEP systems, and then recommissioned the entire infrastructure.

The phased approach allowed the team to continue the balance of construction activity during sports and concert seasons, even when two major sports teams made it to the playoffs.

Major logistical issues presented a whole other hurdle as the site is located above one of the world's busiest transit hubs—Pennsylvania Station. To address issues, a comprehensive site safety plan was developed and trade worker flow was closely coordinated and electronically monitored.

To ensure the steady flow of materials, a 10,000-sq-ft warehouse was rented across the street from the project to make sure that the site had 24-hour access to additional supplies and prefabricated pieces.

Judges noted the logistical challenges and the "dark" period construction. One said the work was well-executed and that the team "went the extra mile."

Key Players

Owner Madison Square Garden

General Contractor Turner Construction Co.

Lead Designer Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects

Structural Consultant Severud

MEP Consultant MEE

Drywall Nastasi; Jacobson

Fire Protection Rael

Fire Alarm Simplex FA