The Javits Center is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this month as its historic expansion project moves forward, bringing new spaces and new opportunities to the New York icon on Manhattan’s West Side.
On April 3, 1986, the doors to New York’s largest convention center opened for the first time, quickly becoming the heart of the region’s exposition industry. Since then, the building has continued to succeed as the neighborhood has evolved, playing host to millions of attendees and exhibiting companies while serving as a worldwide stage for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Since its inception, the building has been a self-sustaining operation – not relying on any taxpayer dollars for its day-to-day operations – with the primary mission of supporting the Empire State’s economy.
“And with the bright light of a brisk spring day pouring through the glass, the building, airy and in many ways majestic, seemed to handle its first crowds effortlessly, its huge expanses and cathedral-height ceilings giving thousands of visitors the appearance of a few hundred,” wrote New York Times reporter Martin Gottlieb in an April 4, 1986 article.
''Starting today, the dollars are rolling into the city and they will not stop rolling in,'' then-president of Javits Center Thomas F. Galvin, said at the time, according to the New York Times.
And Mr. Galvin was certainly right.
It is estimated that with a $2 billion investment in the building itself, New York has experienced $26 billion in economic activity generated, a remarkable return on investment by any measure, according to the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the facility.
“We are proud to have been a member of the New York community for 30 years, supporting local businesses by hosting events that generate new jobs and new business opportunities for New Yorkers,” said Alan Steel, President and CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation. “None of our success would be possible if not without the support of our customers and the dedication of our employees who maintain this operation in a seamless fashion. I also would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his support in ensuring the future success of our operation with a much-anticipated expansion project to come.”
As the West Side continues to evolve, so has the Javits Center. In 2014, a renovation was completed, bringing major infrastructure upgrades such as new façade, flooring, mechanical, technology and sustainability systems. Energy costs have been dramatically reduced, and the installation of a 6.75-acre green roof has transformed into a habitat for area wildlife.
Next up for the Javits Center is an expansion project, which was announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in January 2016. The project will bring five times more meeting room space, the largest ballroom in the Northeast, 500,000 square feet of exhibition space on one level and an on-site truck garage to increase operational efficiency and improve traffic flow throughout the area.