Javits: Now Smaller and Pricier Than Ever!

Aides to Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff concluded that the current design for the Javits Convention Center expansion would cost between $1.93 billion and $2.2 billion, up from $1.68 billion, according to a March 9 memo obtained by The Real Estate. What’s more, the amount of exhibition and meeting space that the expansion would add seems to have shrunk a bit from the plan approved last summer, from 520,000 square feet to 345,000 square feet.

The memo, which preceded the recent pow-wow including Mr. Doctoroff, Senator Chuck Schumer and Governor Eliot Spitzer, argues that it is preferable to move ahead with the current design, which expands Javits a block and a half to 40th Street and adds a floor, rather than extending it a block to the south as others have suggested. (The current design would be less expensive, the memo argues. A more radical plan, involving the western rail yards, was not considered.) The memo also suggests looking at a “phased closing of Javits” as well as “closing Javits altogether during construction” to see if it would save money.

Javits junkies will remember the good ol’ days, before security concerns, construction inflation and detailed cost estimates, when conventioneers thought they could build the even larger expansion outlined in the 2004 environmental-impact statement with about a billion bucks.

Errol Cockfield, spokesman for the Empire State Development Corporation, which is overseeing the joint city-state project, wouldn’t comment on the estimates, saying that the state was reviewing the current design and would make a decision about how to proceed in early May.

- Matthew Schuerman