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Press Release

NYCEDC Seeks Construction Manager for SPARC Kips Bay, a First-of-its-Kind Life Sciences Innovation, Career, and Education Hub

Jun 05 2024
Rendering of the SPARC Kips Bay building at the intersection of First Avenue and 25th Street.

NYCEDC Releases Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Construction Management Firm to Manage the Construction of SPARC Kips Bay, Including Over 600,000 Square Feet of Education Facilities

The Total Anticipated Contract Award is Expected to Be Over $1 Billion

SPARC Kips Bay, Key Project Within Mayor Adams’ “Harbor of the Future”

NEW YORK, NY—Today, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a construction management firm to manage the construction of the first phase of the Science Park and Research Campus (SPARC) Kips Bay project, a first-of-its-kind life sciences innovation, career, and education hub that will further anchor the life sciences industry in New York City. The total anticipated contract award is expected to be over $1 billion, and the work will be governed under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2025 and is anticipated to be completed in 2031.

The construction manager will oversee:

  • Deconstruction of the existing buildings on the current Hunter Brookdale School of Nursing;
  • Construction of the first phase of the SPARC Kips Bay development -- over 600,000 square feet of educational facilities for the City University of New York (CUNY) and New York City Public Schools (NYCPS), SPARC Square - a new central public open space on the campus, and flood protection measures;
  • And reconstruction of the existing 25th Street pedestrian bridge over the FDR Drive with new ADA access and universal design.

SPARC Kips Bay is a city and state project that will transform Hunter College’s Brookdale School of Nursing Campus into nearly two million square feet of brand new state-of-the-art academic, healthcare, and life sciences space. This project will be delivered in two phases with phase one constructing the Hunter College School of Nursing, CUNY Graduate School of Health & Policy, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and a health-and-science-focused public high school and phase two building up to one million square feet of life sciences real estate, a Bellevue/NYC Health + Hospitals outpatient care and advanced nursing practice simulation training center, and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner’s forensic pathology center and forensic toxicology laboratory.

“We’re building a 21st century economy in New York City by investing in industries of the future, like the life sciences career and education hub we’re building at SPARC Kips Bay,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This project will create 15,000 jobs, generate $42 billion in economic impact, and expand New York City’s leadership in the life sciences. It will also create a pipeline from local public schools to family-sustaining careers in these key sectors, building on our work to create an inclusive economy that leaves no New Yorker behind. We’re continuing to move the ball forward on transformative projects like SPARC Kips Bay in all five boroughs as we build our ‘Harbor of the Future’ and reimagine our waterfront to create 21st century growth and innovation.”

“New York City is a global leader in Life Sciences—home to the most diverse talent pool and the world's greatest companies and research institutions which create an unmatched ecosystem of knowledge creation, start-ups and commercial products,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development & Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “With this RFP, we seek a partner who will build on New York City's strong foundation and advance the creation of SPARC, an innovative career, business and education hub for all New Yorkers in the Life Sciences industry.”

“SPARC Kips Bay is a transformative and generational project that will cement New York City as the global leader in the life sciences industry while building a more vibrant and inclusive economy,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “Securing a construction manager is a monumental step in turning this vision to reality and creating a first-of-its-kind campus that will create a diverse talent pipeline of students looking to enter the life sciences and health sectors.”

“This public-private partnership underscores Governor Hochul's commitment to spur growth and innovation in New York's healthcare and life sciences industries and complements the Governor’s $620 million Life Science Initiative,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight. “The collaboration between the city and state will advance New York's position in the life science industry and benefit New Yorkers for generations to come.”

“SPARC Kips Bay will allow CUNY and New York City to expand their innovation and leadership in the life sciences, health care and public health sectors,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “CUNY is proud to help anchor this transformational partnership, which will connect three CUNY schools with government and private sector leaders and offer unmatched opportunities for thousands of students and faculty to thrive in these specialized, high-demand fields.”

“The New York region leads the nation in life sciences research, and SPARC is essential for the growth of life sciences in New York,” said Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick. This important job-creating project is taking an important step toward completion, and through proposals like City of Yes for Economic Opportunity, we’re aiming to make it easier for the life sciences sector to succeed and grow across New York City for years to come.”

“This RFP is a critical step towards realizing our vision of creating an educational space for New York City's youth to prepare for and access career opportunities in the life sciences, healthcare and public health without having to leave the campus,” said Mayor's Office of Talent and Workforce Development Executive Director Abby Jo Sigal. “The completion of SPARC Kipp's Bay will generate a multitude of benefits for New York City, including providing hands on and career connected learning in a real word setting while giving employers access to the diversity of the city's talent by partnering with CUNY and NYC Public Schools, and creating nearly 12,000 union construction jobs including hundreds of apprenticeships for New Yorkers.”

“The request for a construction manager represents an exciting next step for the SPARC Kips Bay project that will energize the neighborhood OCME has called home for more than a century,” said New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham. “We look forward to the selection of this important partner and working toward the completion of new facilities that will enhance our ability to serve New Yorkers through world-class forensic science and medicine.”

“Every day the SPARC Kips Bay Life Sciences Innovation, Career, and Education Hub becomes more of a reality,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. “We are excited about this project, because it will provide new, dedicated space that will allow NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue to expand the high-quality care ambulatory care services for our patients. Our nurses, too, will benefit immensely from the training they will receive at the simulation training center.”

“Generating inclusive, future-focused growth is made possible with visionary projects like SPARC Kips Bay,” said “New” New York Executive Director B.J. Jones. “EDC is working tirelessly to advance the vision set forth by Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul, combining education and innovation to prepare the next generation of talent.”

“As we move closer to making SPARC Kips Bay a reality, I’m proud to serve on the task force that is keeping our community engaged throughout the process,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “I look forward to NYCEDC selecting a construction manager that will revitalize this key neighborhood corridor, building connections from the East River waterfront to 1st Avenue.”

“The SPARC Kips Bay project will help cement this neighborhood and the East Side as a premier life science hub while also providing amazing opportunities for bolstering public education and much needed new healthcare facilities,” said Councilmember Keith Powers. “Managing the construction of a project that serves so many constituents will be crucial to its success. I look forward to working with the future construction manager on the best outcomes for our area.”

“With the start of a search for a construction management firm, we are glad that NYCEDC’s Clean and Circular: Design Construction Guidelines, a cleaner and greener way to build municipal infrastructure, will be pioneered in Manhattan Community District 6,” said Sandra McKee, Chair of Manhattan Community Board Six. “SPARC Kips Bay seeks to educate and employ our city’s future life sciences innovators, so its construction should be equally innovative and forward-looking.”

“As New York continues to reinvigorate its economy, we must invest in development projects that will help New York City deepen its role as a leader in healthcare and life sciences infrastructure, creating thousands of family sustaining careers along the way,” said Gary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “I applaud the city, state, and EDC for advancing SPARC by releasing a RFP seeking a construction manager, which will help further the project and establish New York City as leading the way in research and scientific advancement. This new public health and education hub will also pave accessible paths to the middle class for hard working people including the union workers who will build it from the ground up. We applaud Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul for their continued commitment to driving forward these initiatives that will further economic growth and improve the lives of all New Yorkers.”

Last November, Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul unveiled the SPARC Kips Bay Master Plan. The master plan outlines key project details, including a new site plan and conceptual design, a new model for education and job training pipelines, and public health by creating a pipeline from local public schools to careers in these essential sectors. SPARC Kips Bay is expected to generate approximately $42 billion in economic impact over the next 30 years; create over 15,000 jobs, including 12,000 construction and 3,100 permanent jobs in the life sciences sector; and transform an entire city block into nearly two million square feet of academic, public health, and life sciences space.

In late 2023, NYCEDC released a RFP for the design of SPARC Square and other public realm improvements, over 600,000 square feet of educational facilities for the City University of New York and New York City Public Schools, flood protection measures, and a new ADA accessible pedestrian bridge for the project’s first phase. In April, Ennead Architects was selected to complete the design after a competitive RFP process. Earlier this year, NYCEDC released a RFEI seeking a life sciences anchor tenant for Phase 2 of SPARC Kips Bay. Later this month, SPARC Kips Bay will certify into the Uniform Land User Review Procedure (ULURP).

NYCEDC launched the SPARC Kips Bay Community Task Force and the Kips Bay Science District Education and Workforce Task Force earlier this year. The SPARC Kips Bay Community Task Force, co-chaired by Council Member Keith Powers and Community Board 6 Chair Sandra McKee, was formed to help guide the community engagement process and the development of community design principles for SPARC Kips Bay’s public realm improvements which will be released ahead of SPARC Kips Bay’s ULURP certification later in June. The Kips Bay Science District Education and Workforce Task Force – a group of over 30 senior life sciences, healthcare, and public health professionals, as well as education and workforce experts - is focused on developing a clear vision for the career pathways, programs, and partnerships needed to ensure Kips Bay provides equitable access for New Yorkers to the City’s life sciences, healthcare, and public health sectors. These two task forces have provided valuable input for how this project can accomplish its goals of creating vital career pipelines and inclusive benefits, such as new open space for the Kips Bay Community.

Additionally, as part of the Green Economy Action Plan, SPARC Kips Bay will be the first project to implement NYCEDC’s Clean and Circular: Design Construction Guidelines. The guidelines are important for achieving sustainability goals, deconstructing buildings, maintaining material integrity, and reducing dust and exposure to hazardous materials to the construction team and surrounding communities. By using innovative circular construction methods on this phase of the project, SPARC Kips Bay will reduce 26,400 metric tons of carbon emissions – equivalent to removing nearly 5,800 cars from the road. This project will serve as an example for other large public and private projects.

NYCEDC is committed to strengthening Minority and/or Women owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) participation and expanding the diversity of contractors who work with the organization. Respondents are encouraged to propose innovative approaches towards forming partnerships with M/WBE construction managers and contractors, and this will factor into selection. Applications will be evaluated on their ability to demonstrate meaningful collaboration and engagement with minority contractors:

  • Clear and detailed plans for how these partnerships will contribute to the overall success of the project, including enhancing diversity in the workforce, promoting economic inclusion, and fostering long-term relationships with M/WBE construction managers and contractors;
  • Evidence of past successful collaborations with M/WBE Construction Managers, including references, case studies, and testimonials;
  • And commitment to providing mentorship, support, and resources to help M/WBE construction managers grow and thrive within the construction industry.

As the city reaches a new private sector jobs high, with the lowest unemployment since August 2022 and the lowest Black unemployment since before the pandemic, Mayor Adams has kicked off a “Spring Jobs Sprint” to advance opportunities for thousands of new jobs over the coming weeks. A few weeks ago, Mayor Adams was joined by New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to announce an agreement to transform the Brooklyn Marine Terminal into a modern maritime port and vibrant mixed-use community hub, with the potential to create thousands of jobs.

Today’s announcement further builds on Mayor Adams’ efforts to develop a “Harbor of the Future”—a multifaceted initiative announced by Mayor Adams in his State of the City address this year to reimagine New York City’s waterfront and fuel 21st-century growth and innovation. Other generational and forward-looking projects apart of the “Harbor of the Future” include, Willets Point in Queens, Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, the Climate Innovation Hub in Brooklyn, the North Shore of Staten Island Action Plan, and the New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island, among others.

Last month, Mayor Adams launched “Run This Town,” a multi-media advertising campaign to engage diverse New Yorkers and help them apply for thousands of available city government jobs. The announcement follows the launch of “Jobs NYC,” a multi-pronged citywide effort to reduce barriers to economic opportunities and deliver workforce development services directly to communities across the five boroughs that are experiencing high unemployment. Both campaigns are expected to further reduce the unacceptable disparities in employment between Black, Latino, and white communities. The Adams administration continues to host hiring halls to bring both public- and private-sector job opportunities to neighborhoods across the five boroughs on a monthly basis.

The RFP went live today and will be open through July 16, 2024.

The RFP can be viewed here.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity; build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city's future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.