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Will They or Won\'t They: Officials Still Undecided on Javits Expansion

The saga of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion plan drags on. With concerns over escalating costs, state officials have discussed scaling back the project, although a conclusive decision has yet to be reached. Last Tuesday, The Observer reported that Governor Eliot Spitzer's strategy to sell nearby land has provoked criticism from City Council speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while other critics, including Senator Charles Schumer, have objected to downsizing the expansion.

Spitzer has been getting heat from the other side, too: Trade show producers are apparently angry with the current proposal, which includes removing the truck-marshaling yard south of the convention center and replacing it with a smaller facility on 12th Avenue. Both the Observer piece and a story in The New York Times today report on the frustrations from expo organizers, sponsors, and contractors such as the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, Freeman, Reed Exhibitions, and George Little Management.For the opposition, the key point seems to be the short-sightedness of the proposal, believing that the administration's cost-benefit analysis does not take into account the revenue that the convention center brings to the city nor future demand for larger exhibitions. With the future of the project up in the air, perhaps a more defined path will be blazed at next Thursday's hearing for the State Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions, chaired by state senator John J. Flanagan. And on March 5, more opinions will likely be heard at a board meeting for the Javits Development Corporation.
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