Real Estate Weekly
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Construction & Design

Works starts on JFK animal ark

ARK Development, LLC, a subsidiary of real estate company Racebrook Capital, has commenced selective demolition of an existing cargo facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport, marking the beginning of construction on The ARK at JFK.

The Ark is the first-ever project of this nature, and the world’s only privately owned integrated air freight center, in-transit animal handling modules, USDA-approved import quarantine, veterinary hospital, diagnostic laboratory, and companion animal boarding and grooming spa, a model that is anticipated to effectively transform the air transport of animals worldwide.

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The ARK at JFK was designed by master architect Gensler and specialty architects Lachlan Oldaker Equine Design and Temple Grandin Livestock Handling Systems.

With the $48 million capital structure in place, Racebrook is keeping to the timeline for completion of the project as committed, with substantial completion slated for the first quarter of 2016, and commencement of operations shortly thereafter.

JFK’s Cargo Building 78, which has been vacant since 2004, offers approximately 178,000 s/f of building area, on a 14.4-acre site with both airside and landside access. With the perimeter fence in place, demolition also signifies the transition of the property from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to full control by Racebrook for the duration of the 30-year lease.

“We identified the highest and best use for this former cargo terminal, and after repurposing the existing steel skeletal structure, The Ark will be the first-ever, USDA-approved, full-service 24-hour airport quarantine facility for the import and export of horses, pets, birds, and livestock,” said Racebrook Chairman John J. Cuticelli, Jr.

“This initiative is in keeping with Racebrook’s mission to create value and superior returns with innovative projects in high barrier to entry markets.”

The ARK at JFK was designed by master architect Gensler and specialty architects Lachlan Oldaker Equine Design and Temple Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, and engineers Clough Harbour Associates, with construction management by Holt Construction. Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is providing consultation and oversight through all phases of planning and operational development, in addition to the cooperation and guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Subtenants already on board The Ark include Consolidated Aviation Services, North America’s leading air cargo ground handler, Paradise 4 Paws, which will provide service in its 20,000 s/f pet resort, spa and training center for cats and dogs, and LifeCare, a companion animal veterinary hospital, which will serve the general public around the clock for general medicine, emergency, critical care, internal medicine, surgery and advanced diagnostics.

“With demand for pets and animals of all kinds transported by air escalating year on year, we recognized the need for a more humane and efficient model for this significant segment of the air travel industry,” said Dr. Aaron S. Perl, managing director of The ARK at JFK and General Counsel of The Racebrook Portfolio Companies.

“The committed and enthusiastic participation by all stakeholders—including aviation and cargo industry leaders, federal, state and municipal government, public and private companies, academia and, of course, animal lovers and owners across the globe—is indicative of a shared vision and common goal that have sparked the imagination and which Racebrook and ARK Development are making a reality.”

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