- The New York Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has awarded the joint venture of AECOM and Hill International a $107 million contract to manage the construction of four new New York City jails that will replace the soon-to-be-shuttered Rikers Island detention facility. The value of the work is $8.7 billion, according to The Real Deal.
- AECOM-Hill will choose four design-build teams to construct new jails in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. As part of its contract with the DDC, AECOM-Hill will create the design-build program's procedures and manuals; devise industry outreach strategies; create specifications and criteria for each jail project; monitor women- and minority-owned business requirements; manage all jail projects through closeout; and provide quality assurance and quality control services.
- AECOM, in its own press release announcing the contract award, said this is the City of New York's first-ever design-build program. The DDC expects that a Request for Qualifications for those companies wishing to participate in the design and construction of the new jails will be issued in December 2019 or later.
Complaints about conditions and abuses at the 85-year-old Rikers Island jail led Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce its closing and start planning for a replacement in April 2017. Inmates under the age of 18 have already been moved from Rikers to a juvenile facility in the Bronx, and the entire facility is expected to close in 2027.
There is no indication yet what will happen to the Rikers property once the jail is closed, but soon after de Blasio announced the shutdown, the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform suggested that the property be turned into a third runway for nearby LaGuardia Airport. The $22 billion plan, said the commission, would help alleviate congestion at the airport, and would also include a wastewater treatment facility, a solar field and a public greenway.
New York City has been hesitant to allow design-build projects for public works, a position reportedly driven in part by opposition from unions. But the success of state-funded design-build projects could be turning the tide. For example, the method has reportedly allowed Turner Construction and Lendlease to save time and money despite major scope changes on the $1.2 billion Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion in Manhattan. The state is also allowing the city to use design-build for the $1.9 billion Brooklyn-Queens Expressway rehabilitation, reportedly saving $300 million in costs.