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Convention Center plans in Albany move forward

ALBANY -- Plans to build a multimillion dollar convention center in downtown Albany are moving forward.

On Thursday the Albany Convention Center Authority Board unveiled plans for a facility to be built behind the Times Union Center, in downtown Albany, with a price tag of $75 million. The proposal is an alternative to several ideas that have been floated around for several years.

Thursday's plan would mean an 80,000 square foot facility would be built on Eagle Street and have joining walkways to the Times Union Center and the Empire State Plaza.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings has been pushing for a convention center for several years. Jennings said Thursday he is satisfied with the plan although it is a smaller version of what he initially wanted to see built.

"It is new space for us here in the city," Jennings said. "It takes care of a lot of eyesores and vacant land we have."

The $75 million cost of construction will be covered by state money that has already been earmarked for such projects.

Michele Vennard, President & CEO of the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the county is losing $20 million tourism dollars a year by not having another convention center in downtown Albany.

"We are the seat of government so that is important business for us," said Vennard said.

The project is not a done deal yet. Over the next three months ACCA board members will be waiting on results from market studies and appraisals on the land where the facility is expected to be built.

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