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1980 – 1986
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NY 10001 New York
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Article last edited by Maria Thuroczy on
June 13th, 2013
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Change this
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Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, or Javits Center is a large convention center located on Eleventh Avenue, between 34th and 40th streets, on the West side of Manhattan in New York, United States. It was designed by architect James Ingo Freed of I. M. Pei and partners. The revolutionary space frame structure was begun in 1980 and finished in 1986 and named for United States Senator Jacob K. Javits, who died that year. The Center is operated and maintained by the New York City Convention Center Operating Corporation.
The exhibit space is over 675,000 square feet (62,700 m2). Planning and constructing a convention center on Manhattan's west side has had a long and controversial history, including efforts starting in the early 1970s to produce a West Side development megaproject.
When the Center opened, it replaced the New York Coliseum as the city's major convention facility, making way for the demolition of the Coliseum and future construction of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.
In 1995 the Independent Review Board charged that jobs at the Center had come under Mafia control.
Early convention center planningProposals for a convention center to replace the New York Coliseum date to 1962, only six years after the Coliseum was completed. A new convention center between 38th and 42nd streets was included in the City's 1962 plan for the West Side waterfront. Several other sites were subsequently proposed, including the New York Central rail yard between Tenth and Eleventh avenues (now known as the Eastern Rail Yard site at the Hudson Yards) and the west 50s between Eighth and Ninth avenues. Eventually the Lindsay administration included a new convention center between 10th and 11th avenues in the west 40s along with an extensive redevelopment of the West Side in their 1969 "Plan for New York City." Opposition to the massive residential displacement that this development project would have caused, and the failure of the City to complete any replacement housing, led the State Legislature to kill the convention center proposal in 1970. The City then moved the convention center site to the Hudson River, in place of Piers 84 and 86, despite the high cost of foundations and the lack of space for future expansion. That 44th Street convention center, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, was approved by the Board of Estimate in 1973 despite renewed opposition from the local community. In exchange, the community received a special zoning district that offered some protection from development.
However the 44th Street convention center was never built because of the City's near bankruptcy in 1975, which led instead to a search by the State for a less expensive site with some opportunity for expansion. Two sites were considered — the Penn Central rail yard between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues north of 34th Street and Battery Park City. (Another site — the west 40's near Times Square, either between Seventh and Sixth avenues or between Seventh and Eighth avenues — was proposed by the Regional Plan Association, but not seriously considered by the City.) The Battery Park City site was rejected because it was considered to be too far from midtown hotels
The rail yard site was originally proposed by the local community because of their concern about the major office and residential development project that would accompany the convention center. As an alternative to forestall the negative impacts of both, Daniel Gutman, an environmental planner working with the Clinton Planning Council, proposed that the convention center and all major development be located south of 42nd Street. The proposed convention center site — between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues from 34th to 39th streets — was later promoted by Donald Trump, who had obtained an option on the rail yard from the bankrupt Penn Central in 1975. With the City now out of the picture, the State chose the rail yard site. The rest of the community's proposal that major office and residential development also take place south of 42nd Street was realized thirty years later when Mayor Bloomberg proposed the Hudson Yards project for the area.
ExpansionOn October 16, 2006, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the symbolic start of a $1.7 billion expansion project. The project, which would have expanded the center's size by 45 percent, was scheduled for completion by 2010. Architect Richard Rogers led the design team. However, the physical constraints on the project site imposed by the Bloomberg administration complicated the design and caused the cost to soar to $5 billion.
In April 2008, Governor David Paterson decided to move forward with merely a renovation with a severely revised budget of $465 million.
In January 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to construct a new convention center on the site of Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens and redevelop the Javits Center site with a mix of commercial space and apartments, similar to Battery Park City. A plan incorporating new office and residential development on the Javits Center site had already been produced in 2007 by Meta Brunzema, an architect, and Daniel Gutman, an environmental planner, for the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association. Among the features of the HKNA plan is an eastward extension of Hudson River Park and conversion of Pier 76 to public use.