New York – In a bid to bring additional exhibit space to New York City, the New York Economic Development Corp. (NYEDC) and NYC & Company will seek bids in January to expand Manhattan’s UnConvention Center at 54th Street and 12th Avenue. The goal is to transform it into a Class A trade show facility.
The EDC plan includes expansion of the existing 175,000 square feet of space to 400,000 square feet, with 250,000 square feet contiguous, according to Paul Januszewski, vice president of NYEDC.
“This is a big thing for the city and trade show industry,” said Tim McGuinness, vice president of sales and convention center expansion for NYC & Company. “The EDC identified the need for the facility and knows its importance to the city,” he said.
The EDC envisions a phased approach to the expansion, beginning with upgrades at Pier 94. Pier 92 would be added to the mix beginning in approximately 2009. Pier 92 currently is used for cruise ships.
“We’re looking for phasing that would allow ongoing shows during construction,” Januszewski said.
The existing facility hosts about 24 trade shows per year, plus numerous one-day special events. Since 1997, Pier 94 also has hosted social events, fashion shows and product launches, including the BizBash Event Style Show and Architectural Digest Home Design Event.
Bids for the project will be accepted for about 90 days after the RFP is made available in January, Januszewski said. The EDC plan is to lease the property long-term to a developer for the project. The successful bidder will be responsible for financing the project, McGuinness said.