Cuomo Pushes New NYC Convention Center at Aqueduct

One of Manhattan’s most desirable real-estate assets was at the center of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal Wednesday to build the country’s largest convention center at a racetrack-casino in Queens.

A new 3.8-million-square-foot exhibition hall and hotel at the Aqueduct racetrack in Jamaica, Queens, would free up 18 windswept acres owned by the state overlooking the Hudson River in Midtown Manhattan, a site occupied since the 1980s by the much-maligned Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The land could fetch billions of dollars from developers, say state officials, urban planners and real estate executives. That could plug budget gaps and pay for expensive projects, like expanding Pennsylvania Station.

Still, the question is whether the Queens project makes sense, experts said. The convention business is highly competitive, and attendance is falling around the country. Most convention centers are run by public authorities at a deficit.

Mr. Cuomo said the Javits center, which is in the middle of a $500 million renovation, no longer belongs in Manhattan, where it is too small to compete for the large trade shows now going to convention centers in Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas.

(More on Cuomo's Queens convention center . . . )