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by Lisa A. Grimaldi | January 05, 2012

During his State of the State speech yesterday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan to build the nation's largest convention center at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens. According to press reports, Cuomo's vision to replace the 842,000-square-foot Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan with a new, 3.8 million-square-foot convention facility at Aqueduct is a key part of his push to jump-start the state economy. He predicted the project would generate tens of thousands of jobs and add up to 3,000 hotel rooms to the city. "Right now, the Jacob Javits Convention Center is not competitive," Cuomo said. "That hurts the New York economy because we're just not getting the shows here." With the Aqueduct proposal, Cuomo said the state would "go from No. 12 to No. 1 -- because that's where we deserve to be." According to the New York Daily News, Cuomo's administration signed a letter of agreement Tuesday with Genting New York, operator of the recently opened video slot machine center at Aqueduct, for the latter to invest $4 billion to build the 3.8 million-square-foot facility on the 67-acre Queens site. According the article, a source said the state will help make adjacent Port Authority land available for the project, and turn existing mass-transit infrastructure into a convention center train.