In his State of the State address last week, New York Governor Cuomo introduced the notion of replacing the Jacob Javits Center along Manhattan’s West Side with a new convention center in Queens. Such a plan envisions a 3.8 million-square-foot exhibition center at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, Queens – a project that would become the largest convention center in the United States and a major urban redevelopment project. Through a joint-partnership with Genting Americas, the government would provide the land and Genting would provide the $4 billion to finance the convention center. “Let’s build the largest convention center in the nation, period,” Mr. Cuomo said. “It will be all about jobs, jobs, jobs, tens of thousand of jobs.”
More about the Convention Center after the break.
The dark tinted – perhaps unsightly – Javits Center sits on 14-acres of prime waterfront property. In recent years, the center’s tradeshows have primarily served New Yorkers, as the center has failed to attract large crowds such as convention centers in Las Vegas. That, on top of the fact that the Javits Center has sat as an isolated volume rather than an entity that fosters a strong relationship with the community and the waterfront, has led Cuomo to look into possibilities for reinvigorating the land.
The redevelopment of Javits will be modeled after Battery Park City, and once the building is razed, the State would develop a master plan that would include housing, hotels and museums, or sell or lease the land to developers.
If razed, the property has the potential to infuse life into the surrounding streets which are currently quite desolate by New York standards. The property could expand upon the popularity and continuous flow of people from the Highline, bringing commercial and retail spaces to support, what should be a grand public space along the West Side waterfront. Plus, if the site is redeveloped in a responsible manner, these 14 acres could support Bloomberg and the city’s initiative to create a continous green loop around Manhattan and provide the much desired access to Hudson River Park.
While the plan is a priority, it still has a long way to go until it is put into play. We’ll keep you updated on the progress.