Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for building a 3.8 million-square-foot convention center, the largest in the U.S., in the New York City borough of Queens.
The center, which would be bigger than McCormick Place in Chicago, would be built at Aqueduct Racetrack in a joint venture with the Kuala Lumpur-based gambling company Genting Bhd., Cuomo said today in remarks prepared for his State of the State speech in Albany, the capital. The $4 billion “private investment” would also include as many as 3,000 hotel rooms, he said.
“This will bring to New York the largest events, driving demand for hotel rooms and restaurant meals and creating tax revenues and jobs, jobs, jobs,” Cuomo said. “We will make New York the No. 1 convention site in the nation.”
Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat beginning his second year, said the center would allow the state to turn the Jacob Javits Convention Center into a mixed-use facility to help revitalize the far west side of Manhattan. The Javits Center is “obsolete and not large enough to be a top-tier competitor in today’s marketplace,” he said.
The governor also called for a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in the Empire State, which he said would generate $1 billion in economic activity.
In his first year, Cuomo erased a $10 billion deficit, got New York’s two biggest government-worker unions to agree to pay freezes and furloughs, instituted a property-tax cap and legalized same-sex marriage in the third-most-populous state.
Last month, the Legislature passed a Cuomo-endorsed tax package that raised rates on those earning $2 million or more, and cut them for the middle class. The extra revenue from the new brackets cut the estimated fiscal 2013 deficit to $2 billion from $3.5 billion, leading the governor to say “the budget is 50 percent done,” at the time.
A poll by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, conducted after the tax changes put Cuomo’s approval rating at 68 percent, two percentage points higher than the record set in July 2002 by Republican Governor George Pataki.
--With assistance from Freeman Klopott in Albany. Editors: Mark Schoifet, Stephen Merelman
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