HELL'S KITCHEN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday the construction completion of the historic $1.5 billion Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion.
Officials say the massive project, which will add 1.2 million square feet of total event-related space on Manhattan's West Side, was completed on budget despite the challenges related to COVID-19.
The Javits Center has operated as the busiest convention center in the United States, and the project serves as a key part of the Midtown West redevelopment plan, including the transformation of Pier 76 directly behind the six-block convention center.
"Re-investing in on our infrastructure is critical to restarting our economy after COVID-19, and the expansion of the Javits Center will play a pivotal role in attracting people back to New York and supporting local businesses," Governor Cuomo said. "From operating as a COVID-19 field hospital to the largest vaccination center in the United States, the Javits Center has demonstrated its importance to the recovery and resurgence of the Empire State, and this project reinforces their part in New York's economic future."
With state-of-the art equipment and cutting-edge technology, the expanded Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side will feature 50 percent more front-of-house and back-of-house areas, including new exhibit and meeting room spaces, a glass-enclosed rooftop pavilion and a truck marshaling facility that will accelerate event operations and reduce traffic congestion.
The project's rooftop spaces include a pavilion, an outdoor terrace, a greenhouse and a one-acre farm, which will be completed in the coming weeks.
The expanded Javits Center, operated by New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, will feature more than 200,000 square feet of new meeting room and pre-function space, including a 54,000 square-foot special event space - the largest event space of its kind in the Northeast.
All of the new exhibition and meeting spaces will be equipped with the latest technology in lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems and wireless connectivity.
The newly-expanded Javits Center will feature 500,000 contiguous square feet of event space, which will help the facility attract international business conferences. More than 3,000 solar panels also will be constructed on the new and existing rooftops as part of a new program with the New York Power Authority.
Starting on May 19 as Governor Cuomo announced earlier this week, in conjunction with protocols established by the state Department of Health, the Javits Center will be allowed to host events at 30 percent capacity with safety restrictions in place, such as social distancing and designated entry and exit points for all participants.
Since January 13, the Javits Center has operated the state's largest vaccination center in conjunction with the state Department of Health and the New York National Guard, providing vaccines to more than 500,000 people.
Due to the massive size of the convention center, events will be allowed to operate in available spaces while the vaccination center operations continue.
The Javits Center also has constructed a state-of-the-art broadcast studio, which can host virtual and hybrid events.