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$50 million expo center planned for the NYS Fair

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that a new $50 million expo center will be built at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse, and work will happen quickly.

Construction could begin in November on the center, and during the State Fair’s opening day ceremony Wednesday, Cuomo promised it will be finished by next year’s Fair, with the state now moving ahead with requests for proposals. Howard Zemsky, the head of the State Economic Development Corporation says at 133,000 square feet, the expo center will be the biggest events venue between Boston and Cleveland, and the largest north of New York City.

“The idea is to extend the commercial season down here, so we can do a lot more than just the fair, said Zemsky. “And if you think about the expo space and fairground buildings, there’s like 450,000 square feet.”

And that means the ability to draw a certain kind of show.

“It’s really designed for things we do really well, said Patrick Hooker with the state Agriculture Department. “Things that require large equipment. Heavy equipment show, a horse show, the farm show we have here in winter.”

Right now, the plan is for the new expo center to be built on the western end of the fairgrounds, near the current midway.

“Although we’re looking at the midway today, in February we’re looking at parking,” said Hooker. “And it’s really going to be ideal. The building will face the south, so you park and walk right in. The other strategic part about having it here is you can still have other events going on in the fairgrounds or you can have all the fairgrounds at one event.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.