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Despite uncertain future, $350M for Javits Center

By Brandon Quinn
Staff Writer

The Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, which is receiving $350 million in state funding, will soon be in the shadow of the nation’s largest convention center at Aqueduct, to be built by multinational conglomerate Genting, if Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets his way. Photo by AP.
April 09, 2012
The Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City will continue to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding, despite being destined for "reimagination."

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has trumpeted his desire for the nation's largest convention center at Aqueduct to be built by multinational conglomerate Genting, rendering the Javits Center obsolete, the governor has not been shy about how his vision would affect the Javits Center.

In essence, Cuomo sees the waterfront Javits Center and its surrounding land as a candidate for a future "reimagination," becoming a "21st century community" in the footsteps of the Battery Park City model.

Cuomo's Executive Budget even went so far as to allow the Convention Center Development Corporation, originally tasked with spending $350 million to refurbish the site, to sell off Javits-owned land used as a "staging area" for the center's improvement.

Following budget negotiations with the Legislature, this language was rejected.

But despite the phase-out plans, both the executive and adopted budgets have included $350 million worth of reappropriations for the refurbishment of the Javits Center.

Some lawmakers, including Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, have expressed concern over the spending of $350 million when the benefits may last only a few years, seemingly in direct contrast with Cuomo's efficient spending efforts.

"Why are we still scheduled to spend [hundreds of millions of dollars] in expansion and renovation of the Jacob Javits Center since the governor has made clear his interest in an alternative site in New York City for conventions?" asked Krueger during a Jan. 31 joint budget hearing.

Cuomo has since changed his tune, slightly, saying the Javits center wouldn't "go away entirely," leaving part of the facility for convention space and integrating it into the 21st century community he envisions, which could explain the reappropriations.

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