A rendering of the
planned expansion to the
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
A dispute over a
garage is the latest reason the long-awaited expansion of
the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center has not yet broken ground,
according to insiders, raising doubts about when the work might be
The center’s current marshaling
yard, where trucks line up to unload, will be sold to finance the
extension of the number 7 subway to the facility. In place of the
yard, plans call for trucks to drive up a circular ramp inside the
refurbished facility, an impractical move, said former center
chairman Robert Boyle, who was asked to step down last winter when
he accepted a job at a lobbying firm.
“It raises your freight rates beyond
what anybody could afford,” Boyle noted. “You end up spending $2
billion to expand the place, and you have fewer shows than you had
when you started.”
Boyle, who claims his ouster was
tied to the garage flap, is not alone in his criticisms. In a
statement, John O’Connell Jr., executive vice president/chief
operating officer of Dallas-based exhibit firm Freeman, said his
company has “concerns about the marshaling garage,” though he is
optimistic about finding a solution.
Mike Petralia, president of the New
York Convention Center Development Corp., said the city’s police
department had asked that the garage be inside, because it would
allow security to screen each truck without causing a traffic jam.
As for the circular ramp, Petralia said it’s likely that a standard
ramp will be used instead. “This is still in a preliminary design
stage,” he noted.
The plan was still awaiting final
approvals at press time, but Petralia hopes work on the site will
begin this summer. So does Deidre Ross, director of conference
services at the Chicago-based American Library Association, whose
group heads to the expanded Javits in June 2010.
Ross said that while she is worried
about high freight costs, her main concern is over the work being
completed in time. “If they don’t start by the end of this year,”
she said, “we’ll have to find a new place.”