A major fear for the meetings industry is that the Queens project will upend a decades-old system of doing business at Javits, alienating show producers and attendees who may defect to other cities as a result.
“If Javits were torn down and I had a big show in New York, I would consider moving it to another city such as Philadelphia before I'd consider Aqueduct,” said Jeff Little, the former president and owner of George Little Management, a major tradeshow producer. Mr. Little recently formed a new company after last year's purchase of GLM by Providence Equity Partners.
Genting also faced critics who say that building a large convention center does not make sense when so many mega centers across the country are struggling to book shows.
Over the last decade there has been an enormous decline of attendees at conventions, said Steven Malanga, senior fellow at Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. What's more, he said that just 27% of the 2.3 million people who attended shows at Javits last year were from out of town.
“The rest were day-trippers,” he said. Genting, he predicted, won't be able to attract large trade shows because the industry is simply not growing.
Mr. Goode said there is no shortage of shows that want to come to New York but cannot do so either because they are too large for Javits or because the building is fully booked. At the same time, he conceded that it is not just the enormous events that attract 50,000 or more attendees that he is targeting.