The Great New York State Fair has 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.”
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.