January 7, 2016
Albany, NY

Video & Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces 7th Proposal of 2016 Agenda: Dramatic Expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Center to Attract More Events and Stimulate Regional Economy

Video & Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces 7th Proposal of 2016 Agenda: Dramatic Expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Center to Attract More Events and Stimulate Regional Economy

$1 Billion Redevelopment Project to Increase Javits By 1.2 Million Square Feet, Result in Five Times More Meeting and Ballroom Space and Create Largest Ballroom in the Northeast

Truck Marshaling Facility Capable of Housing Hundreds of Tractor-Trailers Simultaneously to Improve Pedestrian Safety and Local Traffic Flow

Proposal Will Create 4,000 Full-Time Jobs, 2,000 Part-Time Jobs and 3,100 Construction Jobs

Photos: Javits After Expansion Here; Zoomed in on Expansion Here; Inside New Ballroom Here and Inside 500,000 Sq. Ft. Contiguous Event Space Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the seventh signature proposal of his 2016 agenda: dramatically expand and improve the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to stimulate the regional economy. The proposal will expand the Javits Center by 1.2 million square feet, resulting in a fivefold increase in meeting and ballroom space, including the largest ballroom in the Northeast. A four-level, 480,000 square foot truck marshaling facility capable of housing hundreds of tractor-trailers at one time will also be constructed to improve pedestrian safety and local traffic flow. The proposal’s total projected cost is approximately $1 billion, paid for by the Javits Center within existing resources. Construction is expected to begin in late 2016.

More information on the Governor’s announcement is available here.

VIDEO of the announcement is available in TV-quality (h264, mp4) format here and on YouTube here.

PHOTOS and RENDERINGS are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.

AUDIO of the Governor’s announcement is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

“Thank you, thank you very, very much. Good morning to all of you. Welcome to the Javits Center. First, to Henry Silverman, who has led this great institution and done a remarkable job. Henry has been a friend for a long time, and I become governor of the state and we were having a chat and Henry said, “You know I believe in New York, I love New York, I’m a native New Yorker and anything I can do to help, I’d love to help.” But it was one of those lines that’s just like a throwaway line, “Anything I can do to help, count on me.” I said, “as a matter of fact there is something you can do to help, you can actually be part of the Administration, and we need a lot of positions and a lot of help and your expertise,” because he is a real estate genius, could really be helpful. And he was flustered, Henry, because he didn’t really think I was going to take him up on it. But I did, and he became Chairman of the Javits Center and he has done an extraordinary job and his work, in many ways, crescendos today with this announcement.

Henry Silverman, thank you very much, for everything you have done. We have had great relations with our labor union partners, and most aspects of the state of New York, but we have an especially good relationship at Javits with the teamsters, with the Hotel Motel Workers with Peter Ward and let’s give Peter Ward and Greg Floyd a big round of applause and thank them for their partnership.

John Pritko is here, he’s with us, he’s head of the Boat Show that is now going on. If you wonder why we timed this announcement, coincidentally for the same day that the boat show was showing that is not a coincidence, I want to go to the boat show. So, we are going to do this announcement and we’re going to go to the boat show. Thank you, John, very much for what you do.

Mark Sheinberg who runs the auto show, which is a great feature for this convention center, we thank him. Howard Zemsky, who runs the Empire State Development Corporation that works with the Javits Convention Center, we thank him also.

We are about to do what’s called the State of the State address. The SOS is basically a mini version of what the President does as the State of the Union, it is an articulation of the game plan for the state going forward. And this is by surely, the most ambitious State of the State that I will have suggested. There is so much in this game plan, this agenda, that frankly we couldn’t fit it into one day and one speech, and we’re announcing it in components all throughout this week. Because it is such a robust agenda. This is going to be mentioned in the State of the State, but again, there is so much here that you can’t do it justice in one articulation.

This has been a progression for the state, it’s my fifth year, when we first started in state government, our first couple of years, we were just shoring up the foundation of state government, because it was rocky. Five years ago, I walked into one of the worst situations that the state had ever been in period. Ten billion dollar deficit, largest deficit in the history of the State of New York. Total gridlock with the legislature between the Assembly and the Senate. We now see gridlock in Washington, they think they discovered gridlock in Washington, they didn’t discover gridlock, we had gridlock first in Albany for many, many years. And we had New York style gridlock, which is a meaner, nastier gridlock than what they have in Washington. So, we had a lot of work to do just to stabilize the institution and just to get the state government running. And we did. We took that ten billion dollar deficit, it’s now a five billion surplus, we took that gridlock with the two sides becoming political on every issue, and we passed five budgets in a row, on time, first time in over 40 years. First time in over 40 years that we have actually done that. We made the government work again. We then worked on a lot of barrier re-education to job growth, tax cuts, etc. Everyone in the state of New York pays a lower tax rate today than they did five years ago. Lowest middle class tax rate since 1958, lowest corporate tax rate since 1968, lowest manufacturing tax since 1917 – so taxes are down all across the market. And then we took a step back this year and said, “Let’s remember what made us great in the first place, because New York is a special place on this planet. New York State is a special place.”

Why did New York excel the way New York has excelled? Why didn't the other states become what New York is? Why is New York the greatest state in the country? Why is New York one of the special places on the globe? It's because of New Yorkers, right? It's who we are, it's our character, it's our personality. New Yorkers from the get-go, these are a bold, daring risk-taking people. These are entrepreneurial people. These are people who got in little boats and crossed great oceans to get to America, to get to New York, to give themselves a change for opportunity. That's who we come from. That's the DNA that's in our bodies. That kind of courage. We lost that somewhere along the way. We don't exhibit it the same way we did at one time and government was the vehicle for that expression of that boldness. We did things that nobody else thought were possible. We took an island of Manhattan, we built to the sky. We took an entire state, developed it faster and further than anyone else and one project after the both, bigger and bolder, and we kept raising the bar on ourselves. Longest bridge in history. "You can't do it." "Yes, we can. You watch us." Verrazano Bridge. George Washington Bridge. "We're going to build millions of tunnels underneath and we're going to put in a subway system." "Impossible." And we did it. "We're going to build the tallest building in the world." "Why" "Because we want to. Because we're New York and that's where the tallest building should be, in New York. Because that's who we are." And that's the statement we want to make. State Capitol in Albany. The most expensive public works in the nation when they built it. Took them 30 years. Why? It was New York and this was the New York Capitol and they wanted the best one in the country and they said it because that's who they are. That boldness, that daring, that vision, by just keeping at it. As soon as you're finished with one project, you're on to the next. More. Bolder. Stronger. Always leading. Always leading. Always leading. That's where we get "Built to Lead" for New York on this State of the State.

The project that I love the most that is the metaphor for the boldness is not even in downstate New York. It’s the Erie Canal in Upstate New York. What made New York, New York? See you're in downstate. God bless. New York City. People believe everything happened in New York City and if it didn't happen in New York City, then it's not worth knowing about because if it was worth knowing about then it would have happened in New York City. Erie Canal. New York and Washington, Virginia, are vying for which state and which port, is going to be the number one port in the country. The number one port in the country was going to be the port that offered access to the west. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are in Virginia and they're scheming how to make the Virginia port the access to the west and how to take the C & O canals and access to the west. Governor in the State of New York called DeWitt Clinton, he says, "I know how to make New York the sought after port on the east coast. The boats come in New York City harbor. They get to the Hudson River. They go up to the Hudson River. They get to Albany. They make a left. They come out in Buffalo and they're in the Great Lakes and once you're in the Great Lakes, you can get to the western part of the country, the Ohio River, etc." Somebody raises their hand as says, "Governor, one question. When the boats make the left at Albany, how do they get out through Buffalo?" Governor Clinton says, "No problem. We'll dig a canal 524 miles." This is 1817. 524 miles we'll dig a canal. 1817 no hydraulics. Men, women, animals, he says he can do it. It is such an outrageous idea, they move to impeach Clinton on the grounds of insanity. On insanity. They're almost successful. He builds the canal on time, on budget, 7 years. That canal opens up the west. The ships come in New York City, up the Hudson River, makes the entire Hudson Valley, makes the entire Upstate New York—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, all along the Erie Canal. Manufacturing Cities. Opened up the entire country.

Albany all along the Erie Canal, manufacturing cities, opened up the entire country. That’s New York. That’s who we are. That’s what made us the first and the best and the boldest. And that’s what we have to recapture. And that’s what we are starting to recapture in a big way in this state of the state, with this agenda.

We will have the most aggressive development program in the history of the state of New York. It starts with a transportation system that is unparalleled. New airports – new Kennedy Airport; Delta Airlines is here, which is going to be part of the new Kennedy Airport, and they are doing an extraordinary job, Gail Grimmett, let’s give them a round of applause. And by the way, if you want to take a place that is evidence of the lack of our boldness, it’s LaGuardia Airport. How did we allow LaGuardia airport to deteriorate to that condition? It took the Vice President of the United States to wake us up. He had that great line, the Vice President – the Vice President has both the gift and the liability of extreme candor. The Vice President said if you were blindfolded and you landed at LaGuardia, you would think that you landed in a third world country. LaGuardia is not what we are about. It’s a disgrace, the current LaGuardia.

So, we start with air travel with LaGuardia, we’re re-visioning Kennedy, and we’re going to get that done today because that is a maze of terminals. We’re building Republic Airport on Long Island, we’re going to bring a customs house to MacArthur Airport on Long Island so international flights can go to MacArthur. We have Stewart Airport in the Hudson Valley which is a great airport which is underdeveloped, which can bring goods up north, reduce some of the traffic that is coming in to Kennedy and LaGuardia.

We have a series of mass transportation programs, because if this region is going to continue to grow, it’s going to be our mass transportation system that makes it possible. The answer is not going to be more people getting into more cars and driving into the city. The answer is going to be people getting out of cars and getting in to mass transit that is fast, that is comfortable, that is environmentally friendly, and coming in to New York. So we announced a new track on Long Island for the Long Island Rail Road to increase the capacity on the Long Island Rail Road. More capacity for Metronorth. Four new stations in the Bronx so people from the Bronx have better access into Manhattan. It’s one of the reasons that the Bronx has been lagging. And then we announced yesterday a new vision for Penn Station and the Farley Post Office to have a world-class destination there. Penn Station is the analog to LaGuardia. Let’s be honest. Penn Station has been wholly unacceptable for long, long time.

So we are launching this entire aggressive development program. Part and parcel of that is a new economic development program to grow jobs, grow jobs, grow jobs. And we’re doing that in upstate New York, we’re doing that in downstate New York. We have cut taxes for businesses. We now have tax-free zones for new businesses that come to New York. We’re working with the tech sector because I think we’re going to beat Silicon Valley. I think the growth in the tech sector in New York is going to exceed California in the near future – you just watch.

So we have the economic development initiatives going on and we want to invest in tourism as Henry said. Tourism is a big economic generator for the state of New York. It starts with the “I LOVE NY” campaign" – Christine LaDagano is here who has been fantastic in helping us develop new tourism. We get about 50 million tourists to the city of New York right now. We invested about $130 million more in the “I LOVE NY” campaign over the past five years, and revenue has increased $8.5 billion with that $130 million investment, to a record $62 billion in tourism. I’ll make that investment all day long, and as a matter of fact I want to – I want to increase the “I LOVE NY” advertising budget because it’s working. We’re getting more tourists. More tourists are more dollars, more dollars are more jobs.

And the Javits Center has been a big economic generator for us all along, and we want to keep it going. Javits Center alone: 17,500 jobs, almost half a million hotel room nights generated by Javits,$1.8 billion total economic impact. Javits is the busiest, convention center in the country right now. So when you walk around and see people looking a little tired, that is why. The busiest convention center in the country. But, like anything else it is a competitive industry. More convention centers are coming online and if you want to remain competitive you have to grow and you have to increase to stay ahead of the competition and that is just what we want to do with this plan.

We are going to expand Javits from 2.1 million square feet by building an additional 1.2 million square feet on Javits, for a total of 3.3 million square feet of convention center exhibition space and related space. It will be a 1.2 million square foot expansion. It will consist of 344,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space. 400,000 square feet of operational space and 479,000 square feet of delivery truck operations. This is very important because this is one of the issues that Javits has actually created for the west side, but Javits will have one million square feet of total event space when this is done. Five times more meeting room space which is essential for these new conventions. It is not just about an exhibition hall. They want breakout rooms and breakout space and meeting rooms and that is what Javits needed to construct and they will and the largest ballroom in northeast believe it or not for a really, really big wedding or big fundraiser is what I am thinking about. But the largest ballroom in the northeast. It will have an impressive statement of solar power, the largest of its kind and it will have one of the largest green roofs in all of the United States and that is not just an expression. They literally have a green roof. It will have grass, it has won awards by the Audubon society for helping birds in the New York City area, it is actually a nesting area for a lot of birds. It will also move 20,000 trucks off the neighborhood streets. This has been a concern for the surrounding neighborhood as the councilman can tell you. Those trucks will be moved into an onsite garage that is specially designed to reduce the noise and reduce the pollution with air filtration systems etc. to encourage clean diesel. The expanded Javits will anchor the Westside community in economic development. The trucks will be off the road, we will create an additional $190 million in economic activity, 4,000 more jobs will be created by Javits, 2,000 part times jobs will be created by this expansion and 3,100 construction jobs, which makes Mr. McGinnis happy, 200,000 hotel room nights, which makes Peter Ward happy and every hotel operator in the city of New York.

It will happen on Javits own land, we don’t have to go out and acquire anything, no property. The approximate cost is $1 billion, it will be financed by Javits and the Empire State Development Corporation. Construction will begin this year, it is an aggressive time table but Henry Silverman has promised me that it will start this year or he will move to another state not on the eastern seaboard. This will be the convention center of the next generation, just as our founding fathers and their boldness made the New York that we enjoy and celebrate, it is now our obligation to build a New York for the next generation and that is what this is. It is an important component of our overall development plan. Filling the tourism box and increasing tourism. It fits in perfectly and it fits in with vision of building New York to lead.

I congratulate Mr. Silverman and his team here at Javits and the Empire team, not only is this a plan and a vision but it is going to happen. Government has become too good at announcing plans that never actually materialize, I am in the opposite business. Announce the plan and then do it and we will do this and we will make this state a better state.

Thank you very much. ”

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office:  212.681.4640

Albany Press Office:  518.474.8418