- Construction officially kicked off Wednesday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo presiding over the $1.5 billion project's groundbreaking, according to ABC 7 News.
- The overhaul, which should be complete in 2021, will see the convention center's space increase by 50% and will deliver a 500,000-square-foot exhibition hall and the largest ball room in the area, in addition to 27 new loading docks, a pavilion and green roof-top terrace.
- The updated venue is expected to create a $393 million boon for the city's economy and generate 3,100 construction jobs.
The joint venture of Lendlease and Turner Construction — which was awarded the contract last month — has already started the 1.2-million-square-foot project's foundation and steel work.
The Javits Center renovation is one of the few New York City projects authorized to be carried out using the design-build contracting method. Despite the governor, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials coming out publicly in support of broadening design-build's use, comprehensive measures allowing it have yet to win the necessary approval in the state legislature.
In a January budget proposal, Cuomo put forward a plan that would allow all state agencies to use the method but stopped short of including New York City agencies in his plan.
While the city is expecting to pick up more convention center business once the renovation is complete, it isn't alone in that competition. Earlier in the year, Las Vegas officials announced that they will start a $1.4 billion expansion of the city's primary convention and meeting venue by 2018. Once the addition is complete, the city expects an extra 610,000 visitors and additional $810 million in economic activity.
A similar initiative is underway in Orlando, which has plans for a $1.3 billion expansion, and Chicago is also scheduled to begin a $1.1 billion overhaul of its convention facilities. And after a brief legal tussle involving a contractor switch, Seattle has been able to continue with the $1.4 billion renovation of the Washington State Convention Center. The addition will double the venue's size and allow the center to compete for larger shows.