Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Javits Center

Subject: AP/Newsday: Legislature OKs expansion of Javits Center
Date: 12/7/2004 5:55:47 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: tenant@tenant.net
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Legislature OKs expansion of Javits Center
Associated Press Writer
December 7, 2004, 5:31 PM EST

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Legislature on Tuesday approved a $1.2 billion
expansion of Manhattan's Javits Center that is expected to attract millions
of dollars in revenue for the state and city.

The deal negotiated between Assembly and Senate leaders overnight and
quickly brought to a vote, also provides $350 million in economic
development funds for projects outside New York City. Those projects have
not yet been determined.

"We don't know where the money is going," said Sen. Velmanette Montgomery,
a Brooklyn Democrat. "So in a sense the Javits Center expansion is being
hijacked ... this is a blank check to a certain three _ and you all know
who they are."

Under the bill, the $350 million for project outside New York City will be
divvied up by Gov. George Pataki, fellow Republican Senate Majority Leader
Joseph Bruno, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The spending comes when the state is projected to face a $6 billion deficit
in the 2005-06 fiscal year.

The near doubling of the Javits Center will include a hotel with 1,500
rooms and a ballroom and will employ 10,000 people.

"Javits is a huge investment by the city and state," Bruno said just before
his chamber approved the bill. "It will mean a lot of revenue for the city
and the state. So that's a no-brainer."

Tuesday's action doesn't directly affect the more controversial proposal to
build a connecting $1.4 billion stadium for the New York Jets.

The measure passed Tuesday, pending Gov. George Pataki's approval, would
restructure bonds, adjust the boundaries of the center and add a $1.50
surcharge to hotel taxes, worth $500 million. The state will borrow $350
million and $350 million will come from New York City. The hotel will be
paid for with separate borrowing.

Pataki and Silver said they support the proposal.

The Javits Center, named for the former long-serving U.S. senator, covers
five blocks between 34th and 39th streets and 11th and 12th avenues,
adjoining the city's Hudson rail yards. At 814,000-square feet, it's the
14th largest convention center in the nation. The expansion will make the
center the nation's third or fourth largest.

New York City's tourism bureau estimated the city loses $1.5 million a day
in visitor spending because of the center's size.

The bill passed 58-1; Manhattan Democrat Liz Krueger opposed it. She
complained the bill was negotiated by Bruno, Silver and Pataki behind
closed doors then rushed to a vote, undermining efforts to open up the
legislative process and make it more accountable.

Subject: Latengano is a no-brainer
Date: 12/5/2004 7:05:43 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: kitchen@hellskitchen.net
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Say too-small Javits costs 1.5M a day
December 5, 2004

New York City is losing $1.5million per day in business revenue because the
Javits Convention Center is too small, according to new data from the
tourism bureau. Supporters of the city's plan to expand the Javits,
including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and NYC & Company Chairman Jonathan
Tisch, are scheduled to tout the $1.5 million figure at a news conference
in Manhattan today.

The startling sum, which critics immediately blasted as nonsense, also will
be part of a new ad campaign. "This figure clearly indicates that the
expansion to Javits is crucial to New York City's economy," said Cristyne
Nicholas, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the tourism bureau.

The state Legislature is expected this week to consider the proposal to
expand the center, which has 760,000 square feet of exhibition space and
ranks 18th nationwide in overall capacity. The $1.4 billion project would
increase the center's size to 1.1 million square feet of exhibition space,
and add 256,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 86,000 square feet in new
ballroom space.

"There's not much we could do in New York that would create more good jobs
more quickly than finally expanding the Javits," Schumer told the Daily
News. "We have the opportunity to get this done now, and we should take it."

But critics questioned the accuracy of the bureau's data.

"I would be suspicious of their claims," said Steve Malanga, senior fellow
at the Manhattan Institute. "And the question is not merely what business
is not coming to the city, but how much more business do you have to
attract to pay for a billion-dollar investment."

Heywood Sanders, a professor of public administration at the University of
Texas in San Antonio and an expert on the economics of convention centers,
said the bureau's study is irrelevant. "The likelihood of getting a
significant increase in business at a larger center is very, very slim,"
Sanders said. "We have a convention marketplace [nationwide] that is
enormously oversupplied with space."

John Fisher, who heads a West Side neighborhood group, said the data to
support the expansion "are just as phony as the Jets stadium numbers." The
city is also planning to build a $1.4 billion stadium that would serve as
part of the convention center.

Nicholas defended the figures, saying they are not only accurate but
"conservative."And the demand for New York City conventions, she said, is
very different than in other cities across the nation. "This, to me, is a
no-brainer, and to the tourism industry it's a no-brainer," she said.

Originally published on December 5, 2004

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