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Ground broken on new State Fair expo center

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NYS Fair
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An arist rendering of the new expo center planned for the New York State Fair near Syracuse

Work has started on the latest attraction at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse. Crews are in the beginning stages of creating an Expo Center, which will be the largest event space north of New York City, between Boston and Cleveland.

HPB Joint Venture, a partnership between Hueber Breuer Construction in Syracuse and The Pike Company out of Rochester, will construct the 146,000 square foot Expo Center. Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner says the structure will be up by the 2018 State Fair, nestled into the western end of the fairgrounds, giving that part of the facility a new identity.

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Credit NYS Fair
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NYS Fair
An artist rendering of the expo center being built at the New York State Fair near Syracuse

“The west end of the fairgrounds is blank slate. You have the beef barn which is a steel structure. You have the racing stables a little farther away,” said Waffner. “Then you have the youth building and the goat barn has some architecture, the sheep barn is just a rooftop. So you can create kind of a new palette of colors down there in terms of the building.”

Waffner says the new Expo Center will help transform the fairgrounds into more of a year-round venue. 

“We’re not just looking to just get vendors out of the Center of Progress building. And there are some reasons some won’t do that because the price difference will be significant. Our goal is to fill this building up with new things,” he said.

This month, the state issued the paperwork to solicit someone to begin booking the venue. Waffner expects it will be filled during the 2018 fair and beyond. 

This is the latest state-funded improvement at the fairgrounds that has coincided with a 25 percent increase in attendance over the last two years.

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.