NYC selects six design-build teams for $8.2 billion borough-based jails to replace Rikers Island

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borough based jail
An early conceptual rendering of a borough based jail (Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice)

Six design build teams will develop detailed proposals to build four borough-based jails sites after responding to the New York City’s Request for Qualifications for an estimated $8.2 billion worth of work.

Site preparation at all four sites to begin this January, the city says.

The new, smaller jails will replace the aging Rikers Island institution, which is scheduled to close permanently in 2027.

The firms will now prepare responses to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for each site, which will require detailed plans about how firms will approach designing and constructing the facilities.

“New York City deserves a smaller, safer, and fairer jail system. That starts with building modern facilities – and getting off Rikers Island once and for all,” former Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a Dec. 29 statement, just days before his term of office ended. “I’m proud to see borough-based jails continue to move forward, and I look forward to celebrating more progress as expert teams design and build these new facilities.”

“We had an exceptional response from the industry given the size and scope of this program,” said Tom Foley, acting commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction. “The response gives us further confidence that we will be able to deliver on the promise of a more humane justice system for New York City, on-time and on-budget. We were particularly impressed with the teams’ commitment to the values and goals of the Borough Based Jails program.”

RFP process

Manhattan: The first RFP was released in December for the Manhattan facility to a joint venture led by the Gilbane Building Company and the Alberici Corporation. After a collaborative process with the City to ensure project and technical goals are met, the final RFP submission will be due in the fall of 2022. After response review and contract negotiation, the project will move into design and construction late next year.

Brooklyn: A similar process for the Brooklyn site will commence in spring 2022, with an RFP issued to two teams: one, a joint venture led by Lend Lease Corporation and Halmar International; another led by Tutor Perini Corporation. Project commencement is slated for winter 2022/23.

Queens: An RFP for the Queens site will be issued to the Leon D. DeMatteis Construction Corp. in summer 2022, with the project due to get underway in spring, 2023.

Bronx: An RFP for the Bronx site will be issued in the summer of 2022 to Transformative Reform Group, LLC, led by SLSCO and Sciame Construction; and to Cauldwell Wingate 2022 Company, LLC. Once a team is selected, work will commence on the facility in summer 2023.

Work will already be underway at all four sites throughout this process; design build contracts for dismantling of existing structures and site preparation were all registered this week. 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 of detainees 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 and perform environmental testing to prepare the site for future work.

The entire program is to be handed over to the Department of Correction in 2027.

Heavy construction began in June at the Queens site, where a new parking garage and a 25,000-sq. ft. community space will be completed in fall 2022. The structure is being built on an existing parking lot at Union Turnpike between 126th Street and 132nd Street.

A panel of the Borough Based Jail team, including DDC’s construction professionals, evaluated SOQs based on firms’ financial capacity, experience, design-build approach, and past performance.

The city will now issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for each of the sites. The RFP will ask the Design-Build teams to offer more detail on their approaches for designing and constructing the new facilities, including how the team will achieve the city’s vision for building humane facilities and innovative approaches to ensure efficient, cost-effective construction.

Two firms will be the sole respondents to RFPs for Manhattan and Queens, respectively, based on evaluations of their SOQs. Two firms will compete for the Brooklyn facility, and two will compete to design and build the Bronx facility. Because of the time and resources required to prepare detailed RFP responses, stipends will be provided to firms who are not selected to work on one of the facilities.

The city says in its statement that it 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.

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