Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo joined local union leaders at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Wednesday to mark the start of construction on a $1.5 billion expansion project.

“Now we’re going to have a convention center that merits New York,” Cuomo said at a groundbreaking ceremony outside the glass structured convention center on Manhattan’s West Side.

Cuomo announced the project last year as part of a statewide infrastructure improvement plan that includes upgrading LaGuardia and Kennedy airports and revitalizing Penn Station.

The Javits Center expansion calls for adding one million square feet to the venue, to provide more space for meeting rooms, kitchen facilities and a ballroom, the governor said.

Cuomo said the improvements would make the venue more appealing to companies and organizations looking to host large-scale events.

Rendering of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion. Gov. Cuomo broke ground on March 1, 2017. Photo Credit: Office of the Governor

The project, which is financed by the state and the Empire State Development, Corp., is expected to create 4,000 full-time jobs, 3,100 construction jobs and 2,000 part-time jobs, according to figures provided by the Cuomo’s office.

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“It brings jobs and that’s what it’s all about,” Cuomo said of the project.

Preliminary work on the expansion started late last year as crews worked to prepare the area for the massive project, which is expected to be completed by 2021, according to Cuomo’s aides.