New York Green Lights Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Expansion, Renovation

New York State's economic development agency, the Empire State Development Corporation, has approved a proposed $463 million expansion and renovation of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York Gov. David Paterson announced last week.

The project, proposed by the New York Convention Center Development Corporation (CCDC)—which will also oversee it—calls for a 100,000-square-foot expansion that will add 40,000 square feet of new exhibition space to the existing facility. Renovations, meanwhile, call for a full roof replacement to give the building a new "green" roof, replacement of the center's exterior curtain wall, and a series of repairs and upgrades to the building's mechanical systems.

"The expansion and renovation of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is a vital component of New York State's economic revitalization plan," Gov. Paterson said in a statement. "We have taken the realities of the current economic climate into account and made adjustments so that we can move forward. Since its opening in 1986, the convention center has been New York City's primary venue for large conventions, exhibitions and major trade shows. This project will provide thousands of jobs, helping to stimulate our economy. This is the type of critical investment in infrastructure that will help secure a prosperous future for both the city and the state."

Although he expressed thanks to state government for green-lighting the convention center project, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quick to point out that he hopes the short-term expansion will be followed by more aggressive long-term plans.

"The modest expansion is at least a first step toward meeting the continuing demand for additional convention space," he said. "The convention industry represents an enormous opportunity for New York City and our local economy. It was important to move forward with this renovation, and it must be followed by a long-term plan to enhance New York City's convention business."

Added NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, "New York City is an attractive place to conduct business. With first-rate meeting facilities, outstanding convention and tradeshow venues, business-friendly hotels, and the promise of record-breaking attendance, the City is a natural draw for meeting planners. The plan for a refreshed and modernized Javits Center will further elevate our position as a premier convention and meetings destination."

Work on the convention center—which will remain open during construction—is expected to begin immediately, pending approval by the state's Public Authority Control Board. The expansion is expected to be complete by 2010 and renovations by 2013.