Javits Mess Expanding as State Senate Plans Hearing

The Javits Center expansion seems to be a particular point of attention for elected officials these days—Council Speaker Christine Quinn highlighted her opposition to the Spitzer administration’s plan to sell two parcels of land in her State of the City address Tuesday; Senator Schumer has come out strong against it; Assemblyman Richard Brodsky was critical at a hearing Monday; and Mayor Bloomberg has spoken out publicly against the plan on multiple occasions. (Lots more on the imbroglio here).

Now, the state Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, led by Senator John Flanagan, is calling a hearing on the matter, inviting Spitzer administration officials, among others. The hearing is scheduled for Feb. 28 at the Senate’s offices downtown.

The Spitzer administration has emphasized that a significant expansion on the site does not make economic sense, as officials have priced out numerous possible options, finding that an ideal convention center would cost around $5 billion, compared with the $1.68 billion approved in 2006 for expansion.

Release below.



To protect the interests of all New York State residents and the financial future of the tourism, hotel, restaurant, entertainment, and trade show industries of our region, New York State Senator John J.

Flanagan (2nd Senate District), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, has scheduled a hearing to examine the ongoing plans for the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The hearing will be held on February 28th beginning at 10:00 a.m in New York City in the Senate Hearing Room, which is located in Room 1920 at 250 Broadway. Senator Flanagan and his committee will gather testimony from members of the Spitzer administration and other interested parties.

A main focus of the hearing will be the status of the expansion and renovation of the center and will probe into the future prospects of this vital exposition center. Specifically, the committee will look into the recent proposal by Governor Eliot Spitzer’s administration to sell state-owned land that would have been the grounds for the expansion of the center.

Any sale of the two parcels of land that border the current center on the north and south would render any future expansion of the convention center, which currently ranks as the 16th in size in the nation, nearly impossible.

The proposed sale of this state-owned property is in contrast to Governor Spitzer’s 2007 call to make the Javits Center the "thoroughbred"

of convention centers. Senator Flanagan and the committee will be examining the rationale of selling the land and the impact that the sale would have on the future of any development at convention center.

The committee will also look into the question of where the revenue from the sale would be targeted.

"Since last spring, when the administration was looking at expanding this center, they have put in a considerable amount of time examining the future of this center. Suddenly, they announce they are aiming to sell the land to help fund other projects and I think that the residents of New York deserve to know why Governor Spitzer has so dramatically changed course,"

stated Senator Flanagan. "The reality is that the sale of this land will basically eliminate any chance of future expansion of this important tourism hub and the administration needs to proceed with caution and with full disclosure."

Oral testimony will be accepted on an invitation-only basis. Among those invited to date by the committee to testify at the hearing are:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn

Empire State Development Downstate Chairman Patrick J. Foye

President of the Empire State Development Corporation Avi Schick

For further information about the hearing, interested parties can call Senator Flanagan’s Legislative Director John Conklin at 518-455-2071.

Those who wish to provide written testimony should either fax it to 518-426-6904, e-mail it to conklin@senate.state.ny.us or mail it to the following address:

John W. Conklin

Committee Director

Legislative Office Building

Room 817

Albany, New York 12247

The Jacob Javits Center opened in 1986 as the successor to the Coliseum Convention Center. Since its opening, the center has been New York City’s primary venue for large conventions, exhibitions, and major trade shows. These events are key contributors to the City and State economy, stimulating direct and indirect employment, economic activity, and tax revenues, and strongly supporting New York City’s hotel, restaurant, tourism, and entertainment industries

Javits Mess Expanding as State Senate Plans Hearing