NYC Department of Design and Construction prequalifies three firms for Rikers Island jail replacement design

Rikers Island (wikipedia)
Rikers Island (Wikipedia)

he NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has released a list of three short-listed design-build teams for the Manhattan detention facility as part of the city’s Borough-Based Jails Program.

The three firms are (in alphabetical order):

• Gilbane Building Company (New York, NY)
• Leon DeMatteis Construction Corp. (Elmont, NY)
• Plaza Construction LLC (New York, NY)

The short-listed design-build teams will now compete in a Request for Proposals (RFP). The team that presents the proposal that provides the best value to the city will be selected to design and build the new Manhattan detention facility, one of four new borough-based jails constructed to replace Rikers Island.

“It is a very important moment for the Borough Based Jails Program to be able to announce the three firms selected for the short-list for the Manhattan site,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “As this announcement demonstrates, this transformational program is funded and planning and procurement are proceeding. In addition to this milestone, we also continue to seek qualified firms to form the next design-build teams that will create the more humane facilities in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.”

The three firms had previously responded to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) with their own Statements of Qualifications (SOQs). After a review by DDC that emphasized a proven history of exceptional performance along with good labor relations, the ability to meet important diversity goals and the ability to develop and implement innovative building designs, the three firms will now compete through an RFP process for the right to contract for the design and construction of the new Manhattan facility.

Procurement for all Borough-Based Jails Program work takes 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). 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. RFPs for the Manhattan facility are expected to be transmitted to the three pre-qualified firms within the next few weeks.

Passed by the City Council in October 2019, the  city’s plan to close the 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. This is part of a once-in-many-generations opportunity to build a smaller and more humane justice system that includes four facilities grounded in dignity and respect, offering better connections to and space for families, attorneys, courts, medical and mental health care, education, therapeutic programming and service providers.

In selecting the design-build teams and carrying out a collaborative design-build approach to project delivery, DDC is committed to using best practices as defined by the Design-Build Institute of America. DDC will utilize a best-value selection process that prioritizes design, quality, past performance and qualifications. DDC will make available stipends to short-listed firms that participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, but are not selected to be awarded a design-build contract.

The city highly 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, please visit Certify With the City.

M/WBE’s interested in participating in this program should reach out to the short-listed firms to express their interest. Contact info for the short list is located in the shortlist announcement letter at


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