New York looks for teams to build four new jail towers

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has moved to the RFQ stage (requests for qualification) in its $8bn plan to replace the Rikers Island detention complex with four jail towers.

The new jails, to be built in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, will be designed to house a combined 3,000 people. Each is expected to cost $1bn to build.

Lorraine Grillo, the DDC Commissioner, said: "In evaluating responses from firms that want to contract with us, DDC will emphasise a proven history of exceptional performance along with good labour 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."

The DDC is asking firms to submit a statement of qualifications, after which it will create a shortlist of firms that will be able to respond to a request for proposals (RFPs), after which up to three design-and-build teams will be selected to compete for seven projects.

These short-listed teams will then compete for the contracts to execute the needed work, which includes the demolition of two jails in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the construction of a temporary processing facility in Manhattan, and the design and construction of the four towers.

The statements of qualifications are due by March for the Manhattan and Bronx projects, with RFPs to follow in the third quarter of this year. Statements for the Brooklyn and Queens jails will be required by March next year.

In 2017, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a decision to close Rikers Island Correctional Facility, a complex of prisons accumulating since the 1930s. He made his decision after an independent commission labelled it a violent, dysfunctional and inhumane place, and a "stain on our great city".

Last year, US engineers Aecom and Hill International won a $107m contract to serve as the programme manager for the redevelopment project.

Image: The 1.7 sq km Rikers Island (US Geological Survey/Public domain)

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