Friday, December 5, 2014

New Development Proposal to Relocate Javits Center to Queens

A spectacular new proposal suggests relocating the Javits Center to a platform above the 160-acre Sunnyside rail yards in Queens. The $8 billion development would create a new 3.1-million-square-foot facility 2 1/2 miles east of its present location. The plan would use state-owned land on Manhattan’s West Side and Sunnyside in Queens to create a new convention center in the outer borough while spawning new housing in both boroughs.

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It would be the largest development project in city history: 31 million square of space on 192 acres, constructed across three decades.

The plan’s prime boosters include former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, now the CEO of Bloomberg L.P.

Doctoroff was among the major movers in the city’s failed bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, where a new multi-use stadium was planned for the West Side.

Doctoroff argues that the creation of a 3.1-million-square-foot facility on a platform above the 160-acre Sunnyside rail yards could turn New York into a major player for convention business.

New York City currently ranks 64th in the world in convention-related income.

The chance to swap the West Side for Sunnyside is a “once-in-generations opportunity,” according to a detailed proposal of the plan.

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With the Javits Center gone, seven blocks of state-owned property would open for construction of new housing.

The money generated there would finance the Sunnyside platform and the $8 billion Exhibition and Convention Center.

The new center would provide an anchor for creating a Queens neighborhood above the rail yards — complete with new homes, office space, parks and up to 5,000 hotel rooms for convention guests.

Ideally, the new business hub in downtown Queens would also create tens of thousands of new jobs while creating a “technology corridor” along Northern Boulevard.

The proposal would signal a sad farewell for the Javits, opened with much ballyhoo in 1986.

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In its place would come a mixed-used neighborhood with commercial development along Eleventh Avenue, complete with condominiums and residential rentals on an 18-acre parcel of land.

The proposal promises to create 2,270 units of affordable housing in the Manhattan location, compared to more than 9,000 units of market-rate housing.

The Queens end would include 1,905 units of affordable housing, divided between condos and apartments. In all more than 25,000 new housing units would be created.

A proposal for the plan also notes that Sunnyside is accessible by seven subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, making for a short trip from Midtown.

No one is suggesting the process will be simple. The Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, launched in 2003, needed nearly a decade to open Barclays Center.

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