More of Your Money Could be Going Toward Albany’s Convention Center

NEWS10 has learned the massive Albany convention center project is ringing up an even more massive price tag!

For two-and-a-half years now, the convention center has been in the works. And for just about that long, the estimated cost of building it has skyrocketed. Back in 2005, when former Governor George Pataki talked about using taxpayer money to help it along, the cost was just under 200-million dollars. Earlier this year, NEWS10 was first to tell you that price spiked to 300-million. Inflation has been blamed – so have rising construction costs. And now, the price is going up again. This time, we are told it is approaching half-a-billion dollars!

NEWS10's John McLoughlin has more on what is behind the latest spike in price.

With no ground-breaking even in sight, the cost of the convention center has now more than doubled – at least 400-million dollars now, according to the mayor.

“We're gonna' have to make some decisions here; we're gonna have to make some hard decisions,” says Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings.

The nine members of the Convention Center Authority were supposed to meet Thursday morning to get the bad news from engineers and architects who are working on the project. But that meeting has been cancelled, and the Authority will not confirm the mayor's new figure of 400-million dollars. But one source very close to the planning process is telling us that the cost could reach 500-million dollars – that is half-a-billion dollars when all is said and done!

Jennings, the biggest backer of the convention center, says the plans may have to be scaled back, and more private investment brought in.

“yeah, we may have to step it down a little bit – maybe instead of two hotels, one hotel,” the mayor says. “And my feeling is, if we need more private investment to do it right, then let's do it.”

The mayor blames escalating construction costs, and he acknowledges that opponents of the project will jump on the new price tag.

  • McLoughlin: “Are you backing off on your plans for the convention center?”

  • Jennings: “No, not really. I want a first-class facility.”

And as McLoughlin reported already in this piece, one very knowledgeable source tells us that 400-million dollars could be at the low end of the cost projections for that “first-class facility” when everything gets added up.

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