Legislation Authorizes Funding for Javits Center Expansion

RENEE DIIULIO, SENIOR EDITOR
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New York, New York – A new bill approving the expansion of New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was signed in a ceremony on December 8th at the exhibition center. Passed on Tuesday, the legislation authorizes funding for the more than $1 billion project, which will nearly double the exhibit space, significantly increase meeting space and add a 1,500-room hotel.

The center currently offers 814,000 square feet of exhibition space and 28,000 square feet of meeting space. It  has been operating at close to maximum capacity and  has turned away shows due to lack of space.

Announcement Draws New Business

“With the passage of this legislation, the Javits Center takes its rightful place among the top ten convention centers in North America, which will allow New York to welcome hundreds of meetings and trade shows that will now be able to consider our great city,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Cristyne L. Nicholas.

The announcement has already generated new business. The governor’s office said that the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Library Association have booked future meetings at the site because of the planned expansion.

A number of civic and community leaders were in attendance at the bill signing, including Governor George E. Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The new bill marks the end of a long effort to expand the center, and its passage involved some political maneuvering. The bill is tied to $350 million in economic development funds for programs outside the city and severs any connection to the proposed stadium project. (see also www.tradeshowexecutive.com, “The Vault,” April12, 2004)

Dignitaries on Hand

“Today’s bill signing is the beginning of the realization of a long-held dream of the entire Javits Center family,” says Robert E. Boyle, Chairman of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.  “Under Governor Pataki’s mandate in 1995, we began an era of new center management. The tremendous turnaround that’s been accomplished has made New York one of the most sought-after venues for trade shows, conventions and special events in the country. We are turning away almost as much business as we can book.”

Two Phase Expansion

The expansion is expected to take place in two phases. The first will add 286,000 square feet of exhibit space and the second an additional 200,000 square feet, bringing the total exhibit space at completion to 1.3 million square feet.  Available meeting space will also increase, to more than 300,000 square feet. Sources say it has been sorely needed and is intended to make the center competitive for trade shows. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2005.

Economic Impact, Funding and Design

Once completed, the expanded center is expected to generate more than $1.1 billion in direct spending and $50 million in incremental revenue. The facility currently brings in about $97 million in revenue.

The project will be paid for by a restructuring of the center’s existing bonds, a contribution of $350 million from the state and a dedicated $1.50 per key surcharge on New York City hotel rooms. The NY Convention Center Development Corporation (CCDC) will plan and design the new facilities, enter into construction agreements and issue the bonds to finance the project. Nicholas states that architect firm Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK) has already been selected.

Reach  Robert E. Boyle, Chairman, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, (212) 216-2000;Tim McGinnis, VP of Sales & Convention Center Expansion, NYC & Company at (212) 484-1205 or tmcguinness@nycvisit.com