Cuomo unveils $1 billion Javits Center plan
The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which was built in 1986 and has become one of the busiest convention centers in the country, will expand by a third under a $1 billion plan announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The plans are expected to upgrade and grow the 2.1 million-square-foot, state-owned facility by an additional 1.2 million square feet. Construction will start later this year with funding provided by the Javits Center and the Empire State Development Corporation. “It’s now our obligation to build a New York for the next generation,” Cuomo said during his announcement. The Javits Center has long been criticized as being too small. The new wing will include exhibition space, conference rooms and five times more meeting and ballroom space. In 2012, Cuomo announced plans to replace the convention center with a much larger one in Queens but negotiations collapsed.
City Hall steps in at LIC hospital project
The de Blasio administration is looking to hash out a compromise over a contested plan to redevelop the Long Island College Hospital site in Brooklyn. The mayor has assigned his top aides to get involved in negotiations between local politicians, developer Fortis Property Group and the Cobble Hill Association, according to Capital New York. Fortis, which bought the 4.8-acre property for $240 million in 2013, is seeking a rezoning that would increase the residential square footage to 900,000 square feet from 528,000 square feet and include affordable housing as well as a school. As of right, the developer can build a high-rise condo without any affordable housing. Mayor de Blasio has supported the rezoning plan. But City Councilman Brad Lander, who represents the district, and community members have opposed it, arguing that both the as-of-right and proposed plans are too dense and would detract from the neighborhood’s historic charm.
LaGuardia’s new (Willets Point) parking lot?
LaGuardia Airport’s massive $4 billion renovation could create a parking nightmare for travelers. That’s because the airport’s parking garage and lots will be eliminated during construction. In response, the Port Authority, which operates the airport as part of a lease with NYC, is considering using Willets Point, a predominately industrial area, as a long-term parking site, according to DNAinfo. Sources said that a parking lot at Willets Point would be connected by a proposed AirTrain line that would run near the Willets Point stop on the 7 train. The project, which is expected to be completed by 2021, would result in a full overhaul of LaGuardia, including its main 1.3-million-square-foot terminal building. Two miles of taxiways are being added to alleviate the airport’s chronic history of delays.
Complaints about homelessness spike
The city is once again in the grips of a homeless crisis. Complaints about street homelessness more than doubled in New York City between 2013 and 2015. Calls to the city’s 311 hotline jumped 127 percent to 29,159 from 12,848 during the two-year time period, according to the New York Post. In December, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to reduce the homeless population by tracking the city’s responses to complaints and expanding a police unit focused on the homeless. Cuomo has announced a $20 billion plan to address the state’s homelessness problem.