The price tag to build the 136,450-square-foot New York State Fair Expo Center is larger than expected. 

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets announced Thursday that a $62,643,167 contract to construct the facility at the fairgrounds has been awarded to HBP Joint Venture, a collaboration between Syracuse-based Hueber-Breuer Construction and The Pike Company in Rochester.  

QPK Design, a Syracuse firm, will handle the architectural work for the project, which is expected to be completed in time for the 2018 fair. 

The 2017-18 state budget included $50 million for additional improvements at the fairgrounds. That funding will be used for the construction of the expo center. The remaining $12,643,167 will be provided through the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council's Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan, CNY Rising. 

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The region won $500 million in 2015 to support economic development in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties. The pot of state funding is also being used to support the Orange Lot improvements near the fairgrounds. That project will cost $27 million. 

"The new expo center will serve to maximize the economic benefits of the fairgrounds," said regional council co-chairs Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena and Rob Simpson. "The governor's vision for revitalizing the complex through the CNY Rising plan supports the economic resurgence that is happening here. This multi-use center will no doubt serve as an economic generator for the region for years to come." 

This is the second phase of projects in and around the fairgrounds. The first phase of the improvements was backed by $50 million in the state budget. The projects included an expanded midway, permanent RV park and a new main gate. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled plans for the expo center during the 2017 fair. He said the facility, which would be largest events center north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland, would help the fairgrounds host more year-round events. 

The center will be equipped with 110,000 square feet of programming space and have the capacity for 4,000 retractable seats. For exhibitions, there will be enough space to hold 500 booths that are 10 feet long and 10 feet wide. 

There will be rooms for conferences and meetings, year-round restrooms, a concession stand, catering space and an outdoor balcony. 

Troy Waffner, acting director for the New York State Fair, said the center would help boost the fair's year-round business. 

"As soon as the building was announced, we began to get interest from potential users," he said. "We will capitalize on that interest and deliver the promised benefits to central New York." 

Earlier this month, the state issued a request for proposals from private companies interested in booking non-fair events at the expo center and other fairground venues. The state is seeking an entity that will book at least 20 events at the expo center through 2019. 

The contract with the state will require the booker to retain 75 percent of the events it schedule from 2020 through 2023. 

Proposals are due at the end of January. 

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