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Governor Cuomo Breaks Ground on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

By M+E Staff

In early March, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo broke ground on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion on Manhattan’s West Side. This groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction on the first phase of the $1.5 billion expansion project.

Workers will raise steel beams for the transformer building, adding power to the center’s expansion. This early start will allow LendLease Turner—the construction consortium—to begin early work on the expansion.
The expanded Javits Center is expected to generate $393 million in new annual economic activity, lower area traffic and improve the efficiency of operations to provide opportunities for new and expanded events. The project is expected to create 3,100 construction jobs, and an additional 4,000 full-time and 2,000 part-time jobs once completed in 2021. 

“This is no longer a promise or a proposal—we have now broken ground on expanding one of this region’s greatest economic assets, proving yet again that government can get things done,” sats Governor Cuomo. “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. The Javits Center expansion is creating thousands of construction jobs and supporting the growth of New York’s hotel, restaurant and tourism industries for decades to come.”
The completion of the convention center’s foundation made the groundbreaking a reality.

As the construction’s first phase, the transformer building will make up elevated, enclosed platforms and will be built over the Javits Center’s existing transformer yard above the flood plain. The building will be made of a structural steel frame with two supported levels; the floors will be concrete slab on metal deck supported by steel beams with composite studs. The foundation system consists of six straight shaft caissons that were drilled into the underlying bedrock to avoid underground utilities and the equipment of the existing transformer yard, which will remain open during construction.
The building’s roof level will have a horizontal canopy intermixed with green-screen elements and planters that support climbing vines. Acoustic panels will be placed intermittently along the north edge of the building roof to mitigate rooftop unit noise.
In January, a design-build team was selected to lead the expansion project after an evaluation process that comprised five technical committees to evaluate competing proposals in five areas: proposed design; project schedule; project plans and approach; MWBE/SDVOB approach; and experience and financial strength. A sixth committee looked over the bidders’ financial proposals, and a selection committee, comprised of government and industry leaders, received the committee’s evaluations and named LendLease Turner as the design-build team, with TVS as the design firm.

Tishman Construction and Lehrer LLC—both chosen through a Request for Proposals—will help the convention center development corporation manage the project.
The panel’s recommendation was approved by the Board of Directors of the New York Convention Center Development Corporation, a subsidiary of ESD that owns the convention center’s property who issued the Request for Proposals in June 2016 and oversees major construction work at the facility.
$1 billion in funds for the project have already been appropriated. Proceeds from bonds sold last year by Empire State Development will finance the balance.
The project includes the following major components:

  • An on-site truck marshaling facility that can hold a minimum of 229 trucks that haul exhibit materials to and from the Javits Center;
  • 90,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space, to be combined with the existing exhibit space, to create an approximately 500,000-square-foot exhibition hall;
  • 45,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting room space;
  • 55,000 square-foot ballroom, the largest of its kind in the New York region;
  • Green roof terrace and pavilion accommodating 1,500 people for outdoor events;
  • 27 new loading docks;
  • New kitchen and food service areas;
  • Back-of-House and administrative space; and
  • LEED Silver certification.

The expansion will strengthen the regional economy, create more permanent jobs, and increase tourism and business involved with the Javits Center. The expansion is estimated to:

  • Create 4,000 full-time jobs, 2,000 part-time jobs and 3,100 construction jobs;
  • Generate $393 million in new economic activity a year; and
  • Generate 200,000 additional hotel room nights a year.

The expansion also builds upon the building’s recent renovation, which included the installation of new façade, flooring, mechanical and sustainability systems, as well as a 6.75-acre green roof that has become a sanctuary for area wildlife.

The expansion will attract large-scale, high-spending, trade shows and conventions, while enhancing the quality of life for Manhattan communities. The construction of an on-site truck marshaling, loading and storage facility will reroute 20,000 annual event-related trucks off public streets each year, improving neighborhood traffic flow and pedestrian safety. The move-in and move-out process for events will be reduced by 30 percent, leading to an additional 20 days for new events and additional economic activity. 
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The Javits Center is the heart of New York’s exposition industry, and this expansion will ensure that heart is stronger than ever. This early construction work is critical to the success of an expanded convention center, and the completion of the transformer building’s foundation signifies that this project is on schedule and moving forward at a steady pace.”
New York Convention Center Operating Corporation President and CEO Alan Steel said, “The Javits Center is the busiest convention center in the United States, and this expansion project will ensure we remain the busiest in the decades to come. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, the New York Convention Center Development Corporation and Empire State Development, we are thrilled that early construction work has begun, and we look forward to utilizing the new spaces to attract even more of the country’s leading trade shows, conventions and special events.”
New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “We commend Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to create good, solid, middle class jobs in our state that will give more working men and women an opportunity for a better life. This bold expansion project generates new jobs in the construction, hotel and restaurant industries while ramping up economic activity that will improve the lives and well-being of working people throughout the state.”
The Javits Center is the busiest convention center in the United States and, in 2015, hosted events on 337 days. Located on Manhattan‘s West Side on 11th Ave. between West 34th and West 40th Streets, the six-block facility boasts 2.1 million square feet, of which 840,000 is exhibition space. It can host trade shows, conventions and special events that sincrease economic activity and job creation. In 2015, the facility hosted more than 175 events and two million visitors, supporting 17,700 jobs locally and generating an estimated 483,000 nightly hotel room reservations. In total, the Javits Center had an economic impact of $1.9 billion in 2015.