RFQs Issued for Rikers Island Replacement Project


Last week, the New York City Department of Design and Construction issued a Request for Qualifications for design-build teams interested in constructing the four new jails that are slated to replace the Rikers Island Jail complex.

The jails will eventually be built in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.

Some Project History

Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced the closing of Rikers in April 2017—a capital project involving a 10-year plan—that would close the eight facilities on the island and build four smaller facilities in locations around the city.

A little more than a year ago, in March 2018, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s counsel Alphonso David penned an outline to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson proposing New York City allow design-builds for all capital projects.

Through a design-build, one team (often a joint venture or partnership) is responsible for the design phase through construction, streamlining large projects into one contract.

Prior to David’s proposal, legislation for expanding design-build as an option for more agencies and municipalities in New York had failed to pass entirely. However, at the time it was proposed once more, big projects planned such as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Rikers Island were forming, stressing various time crunches.

“[If] the city was aggressive in expediting the closing of Rikers, they would request design/build authorization for construction of the new jails,” David’s letter read.

By February of 2019, de Blasio and his administration announced a new initiative, “Strategic Blueprint for Construction Excellence,” which included a design-build strategy, among others, in effort to control construction costs and reduce schedule times of capital projects.

“We are overhauling operations in order to deliver City capital projects more efficiently and within budget,” de Blasio said in a press release. “This plan will ensure critical infrastructure projects are finished faster and with less disruption to our neighborhoods.”

Then, in June, the DDC awarded a $107.4 million contract to the joint venture of AECOM and Hill International for the program and project management of the work.

AECOM-Hill is in charge of structuring the upcoming procurement, developing program requirements and managing the chosen design-build teams.

Moving forward in the $107.4 million contract, JV AECOM-Hill will be tasked with the following:

  • Creation of procedures, protocols, forms and program and project manuals for all aspects of the design-build program;
  • Development of procurement strategies and protocols;
  • Creation of program- and project-specific virtual document and payment control systems;
  • Preparation and management of industry outreach strategies;
  • Preparation of specifications and criteria for each design-build project;
  • Monitor the design-build teams’ minority- and women-owned business enterprise requirements;
  • Management of the four jail projects until closeout of each; and
  • Quality assurance/quality control services.

What Now

In a statement released at the beginning of the month, the DDC announced how the design-build teams will be chosen.

  • First, the RFQs, then a submission of a Statement of Qualifications in response to those RFQS.
  • The SOQs will be evaluated to create a short list of firms that are deemed qualified and that will be asked to follow up with Request for Proposals.
  • The RFPs will then be evaluated with the teams chosen from there.

“The design process will be transparent and public, to ensure the best results for the City are achieved, before, during and after the design-build contracts are awarded,” the DDC noted.

“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.”

The entity stresses that teams have to go through the entire process (starting with these RFQs) to be considered for the work.

There are seven anticipated contracts: three for early work in Brooklyn and Queens, such as the demolition of an existing jail, and four for the construction of the new jails themselves.

The total project is slated to cost $8.7 billion and each facility will house 1,500 inmates. Rikers Island jail facility is expected to close by 2027.


Tagged categories: Bidding; Contracts; Good Technical Practice; Government contracts; NA; North America; Prisons; Upcoming projects

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