The $1.7 billion needed to expand and redevelop the area surrounding the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City isn't going to be nearly enough, says Patrick Foye, Chairman/Downstate for New York State's Empire State Development Corp., the owner of the convention center.

The Convention Center plan "was inherited" by the current Elliot Spitzer administration from former governor George Pataki. Phase one entails doubling exhibit and meeting room space to more than approximately 1.3 million sq ft. The plan also includes a hotel and a multi-function, screening, loading and marshalling facility.

"The cost of the plan is significantly higher than anyone believed," Foye told more than 300 members of the New York Building Congress at a luncheon Sept. 20.

The Empire State Development Corp. is currently working with its development partners, including the hotel industry, New York City and private developers to determine a more accurate cost for phase one, and then "our job is to balance the burden and figure out what is achievable."

Foye is also trying to fix the mess leftover from the failed Moynihan Station project, the decade-old plan to create a major transportation hub on Manhattan's Westside. The plan died in the Pataki administration, but the Empire State Development Corp. has re-started discussions with stakeholders including Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Federal Highway Administration, Related Companies, Vornado Realty Trust and others.

"We are close" to making public two proposed plans, Foye says. One plan includes two office towers with a total of 4.5 million sq ft of offices proposed. A second option entails more dispersed development in a newly-rezoned area, he says.