ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that his grand plan for the nation's largest convention center and potential casino at New York City's Aqueduct race track has been scrapped.
He said the proposal unveiled as a centerpiece of his State of the State speech in January isn't going forward, but said he's begun talking to additional developers compete next year for a project that could include a casino. On Friday night, developers surfaced for a new effort to build a convention center and casino.
"The conversations hadn't really worked out," Cuomo said of talks with the Genting Organization. He announced the setback to one of his biggest jobs and economic development projects Friday afternoon on former Gov. David Paterson's WOR radio show.
He said he's now talking to other developers after talks broke down with the Genting Organization, which was to provide the funding. He said premier national and global companies have shown interest.
Genting, operating as Resorts World, said it remains in the competition and supports Cuomo's approach.
"We have several great ideas to develop our site into one of the world's premier destinations for gaming and conventions, and we now look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo and participating in any competition for a convention center/casino project that the governor designs," the company stated.
Another major player, MGM Resorts, also said it was in the hunt.
"We believe our integrated resorts model, including convention facilities, will result in thousands of jobs for New Yorkers and tremendous economic opportunities for local businesses," stated MGM Resorts International's senior vice president for public affairs, Alan M. Feldman.
Cuomo had said the $4 billion convention center would create thousands of jobs, help boost the economy and allow a new use for the Javits Center in Manhattan.
The proposed convention center would be located between New York City's airports, and trains could easily take convention attendees and gamblers from Manhattan and Long Island.
As he announced the convention center plan in his State of the State speech, Cuomo said it would make New York "the No. 1 convention site in the nation."
Public opinion polls, however, didn't share Cuomo's enthusiasm for a 3.8-million square foot facility in Queens that could turn into a casino complex. Cuomo's plan included altering the Javits Convention Center on Manhattan's West Side for smaller shows and conventions to better suit its smaller size and congested location.
Now, Cuomo says he has developers interested in a "mega-development" that would include a casino after he predicts voters will approve a referendum to allow casinos to be built and run by private companies away from Indian land. The state constitution doesn't allow casinos, and Indian casinos are operated under federal law.
"That's my thinking now, but it's evolving," Cuomo said.
In January, Cuomo announced that Genting had signed a non-binding letter to build what was to be called the New York International Convention and Exhibition Center and create more than 10,000 jobs.
At the time, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was cautious of the announcement. He said he prefers a competitive process to assure the best deal for taxpayers.
Malaysia-based Genting spent more than $774,000 on New York lobbying in the first 10 months of 2011, or 10 times its total for 2010.
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