New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed building a 3.8 million-square-foot convention center in Queens and redeveloping the valuable midtown-Manhattan riverfront site of the 850,000-square-foot Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
If built, New York International Convention and Exhibition Center would become the largest convention center in the United States. By comparison, McCormick Place has 2.7 million square feet of meeting space. “In addition to the new convention space, up to 3,000 hotel rooms will be developed,” said Cuomo in his January 11 State of the State speech, during which he announced the idea. “We will make New York the No. 1 convention site in the nation.”
The new center would be built at the Aqueduct Racetrack, not far from John F. Kennedy International Airport. Under Cuomo’s plan, the project would be a joint venture with the Malaysia-based Genting Group, which also invested in Resorts World casino, an attraction that opened at Aqueduct last fall. Genting would finance the $4 billion project and the state would contribute the land.
While Genting Group has signed a nonbinding letter of intent to build the convention center in Queens, further approvals are needed.
Manhattan’s Javits center is in the midst of a major upgrade that began in 2009. The expansion phase was completed in 2010, adding Javits Center North, and major renovations to the main building are expected to be complete by the end of 2013. Cuomo’s plan calls for the center’s demolition.