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ALBANY, NY-Gov. George Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver report they have reached an agreement that calls for a study of the possible future development of a major hotel/convention center here. The agreement provides for legislation that would establish a Convention Center Authority, which will create a plan to determine the costs, location and other details for the construction of a Convention Center in Downtown, state officials say.

The announcement of the agreement between the top three politicos in the state coincided with the grand opening of the new $18.8-million Conference Center Niagara Falls. Work began on the site in September 2003. Centrally located from the new Seneca Niagara Casino and within two blocks of Niagara Falls, the new center totals 116,000 sf and features a 32,200-sf entertainment/exhibit area, a 10,500-sf Cascade Ballroom, 15 conference rooms an outdoor patio for receptions, banquets and special events as well as parking for more than 4,000 cars.

The legislation for the study of the convention center in Albany calls for the creation of a nine-member Convention Center Authority. The board will be comprised of three appointments by the governor, one by the Senate, one by the Assembly, two by the mayor of Albany and two by the Albany County executive.

The legislation outlines the powers and duties of the board and details a public hearing process to receive input from the community. It also sets forth the financing and bonding powers of the authority.

The new authority will assess potential site locations and determine costs for a new convention center. Once the authority has made recommendations and determined the costs for building a convention center, it will report back to the state for review of the authority’s recommendations.

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