Plans have been unveiled for a $1 billion expansion of New York City’s Jakob K. Javits Convention Center that would increase its size from 2.1 million sq. ft. to 3.3 million sq. ft.
The proposal, announced by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Jan. 7, would provide Javits with more than 1 million sq. ft. of meeting and event space, including a 60,000-square-foot ballroom, the largest in the Northeast. It would be paid for by the Javits Center within existing resources. Construction is expected to begin in late 2016.
Some 500,000 sq. ft. of the space would be contiguous, on one level. The 500,000-square-foot distinction is an industry benchmark that would allow the convention center to pursue additional meetings, events and attractions, and enhance its competitiveness.
Javits Center is located on Manhattan’s West Side between West 34th and West 40th streets. It’s the busiest convention center in the United States, hosting trade shows, conventions and special events that spur economic activity and job creation. In 2014, the facility had a $1.8 million economic impact, hosting 177 events that attracted more than 2 million visitors, resulting in an estimated 478,000 nightly hotel room reservations. Cuomo’s proposal is designed to build on the successes achieved in 2014 and 2015.
As a part of the expansion project, the Javits Center will seek LEED Platinum certification. The proposal includes installing a 34,000 square-foot solar energy array, the largest of its kind on a public building in New York State. The center has achieved LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Almost from the day that the convention center opened in 1986, exhibitors and hotel operators have complained that it is too small, too difficult to navigate and perpetually damp from a leaky roof. Several New York governors have announced plans for a major expansion, only to see them founder.