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 he hopes to have developers compete next year for a project that could include a casino.
``The conversations hadn't really worked out,'' Cuomo said. 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 didn't name any developers, other to say they are premiere national and global companies.
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 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.