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New proposal suggests moving Javits Center to Queens in a bid to increase convention business, affordable housing

A new development proposal suggests relocating the Javits Center (pictured) from Manhattan to Queens.

December 6, 2014

Goodbye, West Side. Hello, Sunnyside.

A dramatic new development proposal suggests adding 1.3 million square feet to the Javits Center — right after relocating the whole place 21/2 miles east into Queens.

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.

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

.....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.

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

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

A design sketch shows a dozen or more tall buildings springing up on the West Side.

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.

Daily News editorial...

Think big, gentlemen
The Javits to Sunnyside plan makes sense

December 7, 2014

Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio may very well have the opportunity to create a historically ambitious housing and commercial development for New York City — at an extraordinarily low cost to taxpayers.

Led by the governor, the two officials must assemble a working group to evaluate a newly formulated plan for producing more than 25,000 units of housing in Manhattan and Queens — with 10,000 of them pegged as affordable — along with a convention center designed to lure major events that now bypass the city.

The scheme is the brainchild of Dan Doctoroff, a deputy mayor in the Bloomberg administration, and former city planner Vishaan Chakrabarti of ShoP Architects, the firm that designed the Barclays Center.

On first review, their plan has more than enough credibility to demand intense consideration.

The heart of the proposal calls for unlocking the untapped, multi-billion-dollar value of the state-owned land beneath the Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side.

Outmoded and too small for the biggest shows, Javits would be torn down to make way for housing and commerce in the area between 11th and 12th Aves. from W. 33rd to W. 40th Sts.

Revenues generated by the development would finance construction of a replacement convention center and housing on a second tract of underutilized state-owned land: Sunnyside Yard in Queens.

At 192 acres , the rail yard is an immense dead zone in Long Island City. Without an enormous infusion of capital, it will remain a wasted asset.

The central premise of Doctoroff's plan is that the Manhattan side of the plan would throw off more than $8 billion, enabling construction of the new convention center and affordable housing on a platform over the rail tracks.

The scheme also reckons that Sunnyside Yard would be an ideal location for conventions, with seven subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road connecting there after brief rides from Manhattan, and Amtrak passing through.

By all rights, Cuomo and de Blasio should jump at studying the West Side-Sunnyside concept.

Cuomo recognized the need to replace Javits when he broached a plan early in his administration to build a convention center at Aqueduct Racetrack, far more distant and with only a fraction of the mass transit. He understands the need for major infrastructure projects — especially if they are self-financing.

De Blasio has focused on affordable housing. The units promised here would represent a major plus for working- and middle-class New Yorkers. Again, with limited drain on the public treasury.

Cuomo, as owner of the properties at play, and de Blasio, as the mayor who would guide zoning and planning, must jointly test the economic fundamentals of creating two boomtowns that would stand as proud monuments in their legacies.
NEW YORK. World's capital.

“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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