Schenectady County

Albany Convention Center delays could cause cost to skyrocket

If the Albany Convention Center is not authorized by June, the cost could begin escalating by as muc
PHOTOGRAPHER:

If the Albany Convention Center is not authorized by June, the cost could begin escalating by as much as $40,000 per day because of skyrocketing construction costs, said Duncan Stewart, CEO and Executive Director of the Albany Convention Center Authority

The Albany Convention Center Authority met this morning and continued to move forward with plans for the $397.5 million convention center despite lack of state approval. Stewart remains hopeful that approval is forthcoming.

“We hope to be in a position to review some sort of approval from the governor soon,” he said.

Assemblyman John McEneny, D-Albany, a member of the authority, said he’s concerned unnecessary delays – such as new studies he feels do not have to be done – will increase construction costs .

“With the downturn in the economy, this cost could escalate,” he said.

An additional $192 million is needed over the duration of the project. To cover that increase, the authority is seeking additional state funding, which has to be authorized by the state Legislature and Gov. David Paterson.

Stewart said Empire State Development commissioned an outside review by Pricewaterhouse Coopers of the market study, plan of finance and cost estimates for the project. The board also authorized an additional $39,000 for the engineering firm of Clough Harbour Associates to perform additional work on the environmental impact statement.

At this point, the Albany Convention Center Authority has a $75 million grant from Empire State Development that was reappropriated in the current state budget. About $2 million of this has been released for the planning process.

The state environmental quality review is expected to be complete by June, and another study of the authority’s plan of finance, revenue plan, cost of construction must also be complete and submitted to the state.

The $397.5 million convention center, a 400-room hotel and a parking garage would be built in the area bounded by South Pearl Street, Broadway, Hudson Avenue and Madison Avenue.

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