Suddenly, Mayor Bloomberg and Sen. Chuck Schumer are pushing for a second, $600 million Javits Center expansion to get underway by the end of the year at the same time the first phase gets going. Bonus prize for those who find details of how they want to pay for it in the press release after the jump.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SENATOR SCHUMER CALL FOR PHASE II EXPANSION OF JACOB K. JAVITS CONVENTION CENTER TO BEGIN AT SAME TIME AS PHASE I
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called for the construction of Phase II of the expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to begin at the same time as work begins on Phase I later this year. The City today announced their commitment to dedicate a third of the project cost for the expansion, which is estimated to cost approximately $600 million in total. The Mayor and Senator stressed that if action is taken quickly, Phase II designs could be implemented into Phase I plans without delaying construction that is slated to start later this year.
“Last month, I hailed the approval of the expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which was the result of an extraordinary partnership between all levels of government and the private sector, led by the hospitality industry,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “That partnership is allowing us to move forward with a project that will mean thousands of jobs in the building, construction and hospitality industries – jobs for New Yorkers that need them. But why delay Phase II of the project and wait for costs to increase? Now is the time to act and move forward with both Phases I and II simultaneously so that New York City will have a convention center worthy of the world’s greatest city. An expanded Javits not only will generate tens of million in new annual tax revenue but it will double the current size of Javits and provide the City with the ability to host many more conventions, trade shows, exhibitions and special events, sending a resounding message that New York City is open for new business. I urge everyone to join Senator Schumer and me to make both phases of the expansion happen together.”
“New York City needs a convention center that can host the biggest, most lucrative trade shows and conventions,” said Senator Schumer. “Building Phase II now will help create thousands of new, permanent jobs and secure the future of our tourism industry by developing a convention center that will bring millions of new dollars to local hotels, restaurants, theatres and businesses. Everyone will benefit from this expansion. Millions in tax revenue will be raised by the City and State, thousands of new jobs will be created for New Yorkers and the demand for hotel rooms will never be higher. The cost of this new convention center is a small price to pay for the economic health of New York.”
Last week, the Javits Center expansion cleared its final regulatory hurdle when the Public Authorities Control Board voted to approve a Phase I plan that will nearly double the size of the facility, adding 520,000 square feet of new exhibition, meeting room and banquet space.
Preliminary plans for the Phase II expansion have been created by the Javits Center’s design team. Highlights of the plan include the addition of approximately 300,000 square feet of exhibit space plus additional meeting room space in order to complete the upper, third exhibit level (level 6) southward to 34th Street. This new space would bring the total exhibition space to 1.4 million square feet, putting the Javits Center among the top tier of convention centers in the United States. This expansion would also give the Javits Center two exhibition halls with more than a half million contiguous square feet and nearly 40 foot ceilings. This equally-sized, prime contiguous space is the type of space most prized by convention center operators and organizers.
The Mayor and Senator also called for Phase II plans to include improvements to the western façade of the Javits center along 12th Avenue. These improvements will orient the Javits Center towards the west, improving the way in which the facility relates to the Hudson River Park when it is completed. Making the Javits accessible from this “back side” will create the possibility for a future western expansion of Javits that could include new facilities on Pier 76 on the Hudson River, consistent with the Hudson River Park Trust Act.
The current cost of a Phase I expansion is $1.68 billion. The project is being paid for through contributions from New York State, New York City, a dedicated hotel-key surcharge of $1.50 per night, and the sale of publicly-owned property. The preliminary cost estimate for the Phase II expansion is roughly $600 million. The Mayor and Senator stressed that executing Phase II now would limit increased costs and operational disruptions to Javits in the future. Phase I is scheduled to be completed in 2010 and this additional work would add only limited construction time, while preventing the costly disruptions that a Phase II expansion would pose if begun later.