In his continuing push to leave a legacy of massive building and infrastructure projects around New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo presided over the groundbreaking of a $1.5 billion expansion of the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Once completed in 2021, the project on Manhattan’s far West Side is expected to generate nearly $400 million in annual economic activity, according to the governor’s office. Cuomo made the announcement at a ceremony on the site Wednesday.

The expansion will add about 1 million square feet to the existing Javits Center, which holds major conferences and events each year, including the car and boat shows. There will be five times more meeting rooms and a 55,000-square-foot ballroom, which Cuomo said would be the largest in the Northeast. It is also expected to generate 200,000 additional hotel room nights a year. A new loading facility will reroute 20,000 annual event-related trucks off public streets, improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

“So it is really a state-of-the-art, highly competitive facility,” Cuomo said.


Officials said $1 billion in funding has already been set aside for the project, and proceeds from bonds sold last year by Empire State Development will finance the remainder.

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The governor touted the number of jobs the project was slated to draw. The work, which began in December with the foundation, should create 3,100 construction jobs, and an additional 4,000 full-time and 2,000 part-time jobs once it is complete, officials said. Work has begun on raising steel beams for the transformer building, which will provide power to the new expansion. LendLease Turner, the construction consortium that was awarded the design and build contract, is overseeing the work.

The Javits Center extends from West 34th to 38th streets, between 11th and 12th avenues.

The new plans will build on recent renovations at the Javits Center, which included the installation of new facade, flooring, mechanical and sustainability systems, as well as a 6.75-acre green roof that has become a sanctuary for area wildlife, Cuomo’s office said.

"This is the new New York — meeting deadlines, fulfilling promises and supporting transformative projects that provide economic opportunity for businesses of all sizes and New Yorkers of all backgrounds,” Cuomo said at the groundbreaking.

The Democratic governor, a possible future candidate for president, has been on a break-neck pace of pushing for and pushing through major construction and expansion projects. Now in his second term, Cuomo successfully shepherded the completion of the Second Avenue subway line expansion, which had been decades in the making, and which opened on Dec. 31.

Construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, a $4 billion project, is scheduled to be completed in 2018. In January, Cuomo proposed a $10 billion renovation of John F. Kennedy International Airport and surrounding roadways as part of a $100 billion statewide effort to overhaul decaying infrastructure. That follows a $4 billion renovation of LaGuardia Airport, now underway through a public-private partnership.

Reuters contributed reporting.

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