New York–Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has it in for the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan, proposing in last week’s State of the State address that the convention center on the West Side be replaced by a new convention center in Queens. The new convention center would be at the Aquaduct Racetrack, and at 4 million square feet, would be country’s largest convention center, one-upping McCormack Place in Chicago. It would mean the doom of the little-loved Javits Center, opening up its location for redevelopment.
Currently, the Javits Center occupies 18 acres of waterfront property from 33rd Street to 40th Street, with only 34th Street open all the way through, and so essentially Javits blocks part of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan from the Hudson River. Gov. Cuomo wasn’t long on real estate specifics in his proposal, but he did characterize the project as redevelopment along the “Battery Park City model,” which would involve the city offering long-term leases to a variety of developers, who would operate within a framework of planning guidelines to shape the project.
Considering the prevailing views on neighborhood development, such a plan would probably result in a mixture of uses, including commercial properties, public spaces, and a residential component. “It’s a little too early to tell what uses–commercial or residential–would be permitted,” Michael Slattery, senior vice president of the Real Estate Board of New York, tells MHN. “But it would likely be some type of mixed-use and could include public open space.”
Such a redevelopment would also have the advantage, for Hell’s Kitchen at least, of opening up the neighborhood’s access to the Hudson River. A change of that kind in the urban fabric would presumably make the area more desirable as a residential district in the long run. Doing away with the Javits Center would also be a boon to public coffers as the redevelopment commenced, with proceeds from long-term leases going to the state.
“One asset of such a development, regardless of the use, is opening of streets or pedestrian access to the Hudson River Park and the river,” says Slattery. “They would certainly be prime development sites that would increase in value as the planned development of Hudson Yards proceeds.”