Angry New Yorker

Friday, December 10, 2004
Our Carefree Governor and Legislature At It Again - Spending Like There's No Tomorrow (with Bloomberg's Full Support)

As Steve Malanga notes (here) in today's Daily News, the Javitts Center, and indeed the whole idea of urban-renovation-by-convention-center, is a white elephant destined to be a sinkhole of taxpayer money.
Bigger Javits big waste of $
Thursday, December 9th, 2004

Despite New York State's huge budget deficits and high debt, our fiscally carefree political leaders in Albany just approved a $1.4 billion expansion of the Javits Convention Center, including a $500 million hotel next door. With the debate over a Jets stadium soaking up most of the attention about the future of the far West Side, New Yorkers have not focused on what a boondoggle the expansion of the convention center is.

Too bad. While opponents of the stadium cite examples from around the country that show sports facilities do not generate much economic payback, they ignore similar hard data on convention centers, which independent experts consider lousy generators of new economic activity, consistently failing to achieve the results that supporters predict for them.

Convention centers flop because cities have been building them at an astounding rate, piling up inventory faster than the industry can use it. In the 1980s, 104 cities and counties constructed convention centers. In the 1990s, 100 cities built or expanded centers, and so far this decade, about 40 more projects are underway, adding about 8 million square feet of space in an industry where demand is not growing very much.

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