The Great New York State Fair today announced that a design-build contract has been awarded for construction of the 136,000-square-foot Expo Center at the Fairgrounds in the town of Geddes, Onondaga County. Work began this week on the project, which is part of Phase II of Governor Cuomo’s plan to revitalize the nation’s oldest state fair and fairgrounds and is part of the overall “Central New York Rising” strategy to grow the region’s economy.
The contract was awarded to HBP Joint Venture. The company is a partnership between Hueber Breuer Construction Company of Syracuse and The Pike Company, headquartered in Rochester, with QPK Design of Syracuse providing the architectural design. The contract was awarded following a Request for Proposals selection process. State Office of General Services (OGS) will manage the project, which will be completed in time for use during the 2018 New York State Fair.
New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, “We have seen the Governor’s vision of a revitalized Fair and Fairgrounds take shape over the past few years and now, with the Expo Center on the way, we will see the full effects of the investment. This blending of new facilities with the Fairgrounds’ historic structures will prove to be an industry leader and a tool for growth in the region.”
State Fair Acting Director Troy Waffner said, “The new Expo Center will give us all the tools for a major year-round events business. As soon as the building was announced, we began to get interest from potential users. We will capitalize on that interest and deliver the promised benefits to Central New York.”
The Expo Center will be the largest events facility north of New York City and between Boston and Cleveland. It will feature 110,000 square feet of modern, flexible programming space with 4,000 retractable seats and a clear span of 250 feet. It can hold up to 500 10’ by 10’ booths. The remaining space will include rooms for event workspace, meetings and conferences, restrooms that will be available all year, a concession stand and catering space, and an outside balcony.
This Center will be located in the heart of the 375-acre Fairgrounds, on space created during the first phase of the Governor’s transformation plan for the Fair. Renovations that began in 2015 made way for a full-service RV park, convenient space for the midway, open areas for Fair programming, and the space now being used for the Expo Center. The other Phase II project, managed by the state Department of Transportation, is underway to pave the Fair’s largest parking lot to create more spaces while improving traffic flow and access to the adjacent interstate highway. The New York State Fair is the nation’s first and oldest state fair, and had not had a significant investment from the state in at least 80 years.
Those changes, along with an attractive new Main Gate, permanent RV park and other improvements, helped the Fair grow attendance more than 25% in two years to become the nation’s third largest state fair. Similarly, the investment in the new Expo Center is aimed at increasing the number of events hosted year-round on the Fairgrounds as well as increasing visitors to those events. Estimated attendance at approximately 110 non-Fair events in 2017 is on schedule to rise well above the level seen in 2016. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets recently announced a Request for Proposals from private companies interested in marketing the Expo Center and assisting in the marketing of other Fairgrounds buildings for non-Fair events.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s commitment and investment in the NYS Fair, we are seeing real economic benefit to our region. The new Expo Center will provide an even bigger boost to our economy here in Central New York.”
Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, President, SUNY Upstate Medical University and Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO said, "The new Expo Center will serve to maximize the economic benefits of the fairgrounds. The Governor’s vision for revitalizing the complex through the CNY Rising plan supports the economic resurgence that is happening here. This multi-use center will no doubt serve as an economic generator for the region for years to come”
New York State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “We at OGS are proud of the role our agency is playing in the transformation of the Great New York State Fair. Governor Cuomo’s vision to re-invent the fair experience through new buildings, exhibits and grounds work will endure for generations. Today’s announcement means we are one step closer to building this amazing Expo Center, and will expand this grand event space with a facility capable of hosting events and drawing people to the fairgrounds year-round.”
The contract with HBP Joint Venture is valued at $62,643,167, with $50 million included in the fiscal year 2017-18 State Budget and the balance coming from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The 2017 – 18 State Budget granted design-build authority to OGS to ensure the timely completion of the Expo Center prior to the 2018 State Fair. The State will use a Project Labor Agreement for construction. The PLA will protect taxpayers by delivering the best quality work at the lowest possible price, and is open to all contractors.
Accelerating Central NY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested nearly $4.7 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.
The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 22 to September 3, 2018. The Fair's mission, reflected in its theme, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.
The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair's website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair at Flickr.com/photos/nysfair. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at [email protected].