NewsMay 17, 2018
Gavin J. Donohue Receives the 2018 James M. DiNapoli Award
The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) presented the 6th Annual James M. DiNapoli Award to Gavin J. Donohue, President & CEO of Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. and former Chairman of the Albany Convention Center Authority (ACCA), at the BID’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at Sixty State Place.
Created in 2013 in honor of founding member and inaugural Chairman of the Downtown BID, the James M. DiNapoli Award is presented annually to an individual, organization, or business that exemplifies Mr. DiNapoli’s spirit of partnership and community-building in shaping the direction of downtown Albany.
Appointed to the ACCA board in 2005 by Governor George Pataki, Mr. Donohue was appointed Chairman in 2008 by Governor Eliot Spitzer and continued in the volunteer leadership position through multiple gubernatorial administrations and a wholesale reinvention of the Convention Center plan. As Chairman, Mr. Donohue’s passion and perseverance were instrumental in changing the face of Downtown with the establishment of the Albany Capital Center.
Building the Albany Capital Center methodically through years of planning and approval processes, Mr. Donohue was the epitome of a hands-on Chairman. Through his steadfast determination over nearly a decade, the Albany Capital Center opened in March of 2017. Situated in the heart of Downtown, the Capital Center is an 82,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility offering a key connection between the Empire State Plaza and the Times Union Center. Together, these three spaces create the Capital Complex, the largest meeting space in Upstate New York.
The construction of the Center, completed on schedule in 24 months, employed 140 workers per day on average from 11 trades and provided 120 permanent jobs. It has been a transformational project for downtown Albany and the City as a whole, spurring private development around the site and opening the Capital Region to new convention and meeting business. The Capital Center exceeded its first-year projections by hosting 139 events in 2017, attracting major conferences and events to downtown Albany and generating 4,285 hotel room nights. In its first full year of operations, $7.7 million in direct spending in Albany County was attributed to Capital Center events, generating $404,414 in new County sales tax revenue. As of May 15, 264 event days are currently booked at the venue for 2018, including conferences, conventions, sporting events, and concerts. These events are expected to draw 80,502 visitors to downtown Albany and generate 9,867 hotel room nights this year.
Through Mr. Donohue’s persistence and leadership, he earned the trust of four governors and the citizens of the Capital Region during his tenure. Most importantly, he saw a game-changing project through to its completion. As the Albany Capital Center welcomes visitors and residents to hundreds of events each year, it stands as a testament to Mr. Donohue and his vision for Downtown.
“Jim DiNapoli was a close friend and mentor. Receiving an award in his name is a great honor for me and for the Albany Capital Center as the state-of-the-art venue that Albany truly deserves and he envisioned,” said Gavin J. Donohue. “This facility is a catalyst for economic growth, a key to the future of the Capital Region that Jim promoted in all that he did, and a true testament to what the public and private sectors can achieve to the benefit of all. I am humbled and thank the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District for this honor.”
“I can comfortably say that but not for the leadership of Gavin Donohue during his tenure at the Albany Convention Center Authority, I am doubtful that we would be enjoying the grandeur of the Albany Capital Center,” said Assemblymember John T. McDonald III. “His patience and continued advocacy for this project consumed an incredible amount of time over the past decade and especially the last five years when the location and construction of the site became a reality. This recognition of Gavin is appropriate and well-deserved, as he has dedicated thousands of hours to this beautiful facility that benefits the Capital City and our region.”
“Thanks to the leadership and dedication of Gavin Donohue as Chairman of the Albany Capital Center Authority, this incredible project was completed on time while creating good paying jobs for our people and has led to millions of dollars in investment to our community,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “A dedicated public servant like Gavin helps make Albany County a better place to live, and he has earned today’s honor.”
“Gavin Donohue has been instrumental in the revitalization and enhancement of downtown Albany,” said Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “The Albany Capital Center has played an integral role in drawing visitors and businesses to Downtown Albany and our entire City, and we are extremely appreciative of Gavin’s hard work and dedication. Congratulations to Gavin on being recognized for this prestigious honor.”
“Without question, Gavin Donohue provided key leadership in fulfilling the vision for new contemporary convention facilities in downtown Albany,” said ACCA Chair Megan Daly on behalf of the ACCA Board. “The Albany Capital Center is a credit to his determination, dedication and sense of civic duty. As we see tens of thousands of new visitors to Albany, we see the realization of a unified vision that is even more exciting than planned. This award and recognition is very well deserved.”
“Mr. Donohue is a visionary leader who truly embodies Jim DiNapoli’s legacy in downtown Albany,” said Downtown Albany BID Executive Director Georgette Steffens. “Like Jim, Gavin demonstrated an ability to bring together many different stakeholders for the good of our Capital City, always with a selfless dedication to the community. Downtown Albany is a better place for his efforts, and it is an honor to recognize his years of service with this award.”
Previous James M. DiNapoli Award recipients include Tracy Metzger (2013), I. David Swawite (2014), Joseph Nicolla (2015), Nancy Zimpher (2016), and Anders Tomson (2017).