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Construction underway on city’s new, improved jails

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that it has selected four separate teams of designers and builders to receive design-build contracts to prepare the sites where four new borough-based jail facilities will be constructed in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

A fifth new contract has been awarded through the City’s regular competitive bidding process for infrastructure work at the Queens site. 

Major construction in the Borough-Based Jails program began in June in Kew Gardens, Queens, where a new garage and community space is being constructed adjacent to the site of a future new jail.

In Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, the design-build teams will dismantle existing facilities on the sites and construct temporary “swing spaces” to facilitate NYC Department of Correction’s transfers for court appearances during construction.

At the Bronx site, where the former Lincoln Hospital used to be located, the design-build team will remove debris from the old hospital including its foundation and perform environmental testing to prepare the site for future work.

An additional contract is for work at the Queens site in Kew Gardens to install a new trunk water main to replace one that is located in a part of 82nd Avenue that has been demapped for the Borough-Based Jails Program. 

Rendering of the new Kew Gardens jail

Overall, heavy construction for the Program began in June at the Queens site, where a structure that will house a new parking garage and 25,000-square-foot community space is currently under construction. The structure is being built on the west side of an existing parking lot at Union Turnpike between 126th Street and 132nd Street.

 “New York City is committed to forging a safer, better, more humane jail system, and that starts with building 21st century facilities,” said First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan. “These expert teams will design and build jails that reflect our city’s strength and compassion, and I look forward to celebrating fast progress toward completing each Borough-Based Jail in the years to come.” 

“The Borough-Based Jails Program is fully funded and remains on-track to provide the facilities that will be needed to enable the closure of Rikers Island,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Acting Commissioner Thomas Foley. “The selection of these design-build teams was a rigorous process based not just on price but on experience, vision and the ability of the teams to deliver a quality project on time and on budget. We continue to seek highly qualified design-build teams to create the Program’s other facilities.” 

The teams/firms selected to receive the five contracts are: 

  • Brooklyn Dismantle/Swing Space – NorthStar Contracting Group Inc. (design-build, $59.7 million)
  • Queens Dismantle/Swing Space – Hunter Roberts Construction Group, LLC (design-build, $43.1 million)
  • Manhattan Dismantle/Swing Space – Gramercy Group Inc. (design-build, $125.2 million)
  • Bronx Site Preparation – Yonkers Contracting Company Inc. (design-build, $76.7 million)
  • Queens Water Main Installation – Triumph Construction Corporation ($6.4 million)

 The Department of Design and Construction anticipates that the four contracts for dismantling structures in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, and for site preparation in the Bronx, will be registered by the end of 2021, with work starting in the first quarter of 2022.

The contract for the Queens trunk water main installation has already been registered and work is also expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022, taking 18 months to complete. 

DDC is working with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) and the NYC Department of Correction (DOC) to implement the City’s plan to build four smaller, safer and fairer borough-based jail facilities and to close the jails on Rikers Island. 

Design and construction firms participating in the program will have a rare opportunity to build facilities grounded in dignity and respect, offering better connections to the Court system that are emblematic of NYC’s criminal justice reform work. The facilities will be designed to accommodate the needs of families as well as for medical, mental health, education and therapeutic programming service providers.

Passed by the City Council in October 2019, the City’s plan comes at a time when New York City has the lowest crime and incarceration rates of any large city in the United States. 

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