City Issues RFQ for design and construction of four new borough-based jails


The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is looking for design-build teams to construct the new borough-based jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

An RFQ was released this week.

The city’s plan to close jails on Rikers Island and build smaller, safer and fairer borough-based jail facilities comes at a time when New York City has the lowest crime and incarceration rates of any large city in the United States.

The four facilities will be “grounded in dignity and respect”, providing better connections to and space for families, attorneys, courts, medical and mental health care, education, therapeutic programming and service providers.

“In evaluating responses from firms that want to contract with us, DDC will emphasize a proven history of exceptional performance along with good labor relations and the ability to meet important diversity goals, while seeking innovative designs for buildings that will become civic assets in the years to come.” DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo said in a media release. “The response to our previous solicitations indicates that there’s great interest in our Design-Build program in the industry.”

Procurement for all Borough-Based Jails Program work will take place through a two-step process: submittal of a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) in response to an RFQ followed by submittal of a Proposal by short-listed vendors in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP).

“Rarely does the architectural design and construction community get an opportunity to create important civic buildings that can have a positive lasting effect on the life of the city,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of MOCJ. “We look forward to submissions that reflect both the quality and innovation that these buildings deserve and the magnitude of the transformation of the criminal justice system.”

SOQs will be evaluated to create short-lists of firms that are deemed qualified to respond to the follow-up RFPs. Up to three vendors will be short-listed per project. Responses to the RFPs will then be evaluated and will lead to contracting with the Design-Build teams that will design and construct the four new facilities.

The use of Design-Build allows the city to manage only one outside team of designers and contractors, with a single point of responsibility for both design and construction services. The team works together from the beginning of the project, providing unified design and construction services to fit the City’s schedule and budget. The result is a more cost-efficient project with a shorter timeline from design initiation to completion.

Neighborhood workshops will give local communities a chance to provide their views and input. Technical experts — including experts on urban design and planning, architectural design, building performance and justice reform —will provide feedback on design guidelines and other specifications. City officials with the Department of City Planning, the Public Design Commission and others will help guide the project along throughout the process.

In order to be eligible to respond to an RFP, firms must have responded to the RFQ rand have been selected to progress to the next stage.

There are seven total anticipated Design-Build contracts, three for early program work in Brooklyn and Queens, such as demolition of an existing jail, and four for the Design-Build teams that will design and construct the four Borough-Based Jails themselves:

  • Manhattan – To dismantle the existing building, build a temporary intake to facilitate DOC’s transfers for court appearances during construction, and design and build a new facility;
  • Bronx – To clear the existing site and design and build a new facility;
  • Brooklyn – To design and build a new facility;
  • Queens – To design and build a new facility.

The city also encourages participation in the jails program by Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and will set significant requirements for M/WBE participation in the program’s Design-Build contracts. To learn more about how eligible firms can become certified as an M/WBE, visit: Certify With the City


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