The Real Deal New York

Dan Doctoroff wants to move the Javits Center to Queens

About $8B needed to relocate convention hall, former deputy mayor notes in opinion piece
December 01, 2014 09:40AM

Moving the Jacob Javits Convention Center to Queens is key to attracting more conferences and conventions, according to former deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff.

In a New York Times op-ed, Doctoroff argued that Sunnyside Yards, a 160-acre rail yard on the border of Long Island City, would be an ideal spot for the Javits Center, which is located on Eleventh Avenue between 34th and 40th streets in Manhattan.

Hotel rooms in Sunnyside Yarks, Doctoroff wrote, are much cheaper than the ones near the Javits Center. That, he noted, would help “the affordability problem” that is holding the Javits Center back. Earlier this year, Doctoroff proposed to bring the 2024 Olympic Games to the Sunnyside location, to no avail.

He further argued that redeveloping Sunnyside Yards “seems obvious.” A platform — which would cost about $8 billion — over the train tracks would be needed to make sure the trains can still run while the convention center is being built.

“The cost has always made the idea a nonstarter, but times — and real estate values — have changed,” Doctoroff wrote in the article. “Stronger market conditions bring us closer to feasibility, but the numbers for building the platform still don’t add up unless we get creative. That’s why we should relocate the Javits Center to Sunnyside, sell the extremely valuable property the Javits Center owns, and use the proceeds to pay for it.

The land under the Javits Center could be rezoned for residential use, Doctoroff argued. That could bring more than 11,000 units — with a 20 percent affordable component — to the area. [NYT] — Claire Moses