Cuomo's Convention Center Proposal Draws Support, Skeptics

The governor’s plan to redevelop the Javits Center in Manhattan and build a new convention center in Queens outlined has picked up support from the borough’s chamber of commerce and the Real Estate Board of New York.

The executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce said the Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side has “exceeded its time,” and that Manhattan doesn’t have the space to house a convention center necessary to accommodate the city’s needs.

“Queens offers a great opportunity that’s located even closer to the airports, and offers communities around it which are ripe for development, like downtown Jamaica, like Rockaway, that can support this new infrastructure going into the Ozone Park area,” Jack Friedman, the executive director, said.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce is welcoming the proposal to build what the governor's said he hopes is the nation’s largest convention center near the Aqueduct Racetrack.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday he supports the governor's proposal and that there’s no argument that the Javits Center is “too small” and “antiquated.”

Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said the Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side has passed its prime and that developers are interested in the land.

“We’re going to see development that is going to open up the West Side to the waterfront, rather than block the West Side to the waterfront,” he said.

He said Queens is a good place for a new convention center, but believes the development needs to include amenities that make it a destination beyond just the convention center – like retail, restaurants, and the casino and hotel the governor’s envisioned.

The Javits Center wouldn’t comment on the governor’s proposal.