Design-build teams wanted: State seeks bids for $1B Javits revamp

Design-build teams wanted: State seeks bids for $1B Javits revamp

The state is seeking a development team that can design and build the $1 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The New York Convention Center Development Corporation on Tuesday issued a request for qualifications for the project, seeking developers adept at design-build, a project delivery system that lets a landlord sign one contract with a party that handles both the design and construction of a project.

This could be the first time a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation is able to flex its design-build muscle, thanks to the state’s freshly-passed budget. The scope of design-build was previously restricted to five state agencies, so a limited number of companies have experience with the delivery system. Some big-name construction companies include Skanska, Tishman Construction Company, Turner Construction Company and Lend Lease. Tishman is listed in the RFQ as a consultant on the concept design for the project. The RFQ seeks teams who have worked on similar projects worth more than $100 million in the past five years.

The design-build approach has already been implemented in the rebuilding of the Tappan Zee Bridge, by a team that includes Fluor and Traylor Brothers construction companies. The delivery system, which is often held up as a money and time saver, is expected to also be used in the redevelopment of LaGuardia and Penn Station.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“Government shouldn’t be in the construction business. We’re all in favor of design-build. Bring in a private sector partner. You build it, you develop it and God bless you. Time is of the essence,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a speech before the Association for a Better New York on Tuesday. “This is not going to be government process. It’s going to be private sector timelines, private sector incentives.”

For the Javits Center renovation, the state will select up to three developers who will then receive requests for proposals in June and compete for the project. The overhaul includes expanding the convention center by 1.2 million square feet and building a roof terrace for outdoor events. The RFQ is due May 10 and construction is slated to begin in the fall.

This is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest proposal for the Javits Center. In 2012, he suggested demolishing Javits and building a new convention center in Sunnyside, Queens.

Under the New York Transformational Economic Development Infrastructure and Revitalization Projects Act — the measure that expands design-build capabilities in the state — project teams are required to adhere to the state’s prevailing wage requirements. The RFQ also requires a project labor agreement, meaning that the design-build team will need to contract with union firms. During his speech on Tuesday, Cuomo noted that the Javits redevelopment is projected to create 3,100 construction jobs. He added that this was something that would please Gary LaBarbera, the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, who was seated in the audience.