New York Gov Proposes Huge Convention Center to Replace Javits

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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New York, NY – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pitched a plan in his State of the State address on January 4 to build a major convention center on the grounds of the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens. The center would be located near the city’s two major airports. Recognizing that New York is losing tax revenue, tourism dollars and jobs to neighboring states, Governor Cuomo also announced that he will support a constitutional amendment to allow gaming in New York state. An estimated $1 billion in economic activity annually could be generated from the plan, he said.

Cuomo says the proposed facility would be “the largest convention center in the nation” at 3.8 million square feet overall and would cost about $4 billion. Genting New York, a Malaysian company that currently operates the slot machines at the Aqueduct casino, will foot the $700 million bill for the center itself, according to New York media reports.

The proposed single-story center would eventually replace the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which would be slated to make way for a major mixed-use development. A timetable for the project was not revealed.

“New York needs a larger, state-of-the-art venue to be competitive for the largest trade shows and conventions,” Cuomo said in his address. “The Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side is obsolete and not large enough to be a top-tier competitor in today’s marketplace.”

Javits Center, which has been undergoing renovations, provides 840,000 square feet of prime
exhibit space and is ranked 14th in Trade Show Executive’s directory of the World’s Top Convention Centers. The largest center on the list is McCormick Place in Chicago with 2.6 million square feet of prime space.

Along with a slew of construction jobs, Cuomo sees the Aqueduct project putting the Big Apple in competition for larger trade shows thanks to its space, proximity to airports and potential 3,000-room hotel inventory nearby that would not have to compete with tourists and business travelers who gravitate to Manhattan.

The location, however, could be a negative for show organizers whose attendees might not be as enthused about spending a week in Queens as opposed to the glitz of Manhattan.

Show organizers had no immediate comment on the plan.

Reach Gov. Andrew Cuomo at (518) 474-8390