$2.3 billion in contracts awarded to minority and women-owned business enterprises for JFK airport transformation

This is the largest participation of MWBE firms on any public-private partnership project in New York State history.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a historic milestone in the ongoing transformation of JFK International Airport, where a record $2.3 billion in contracts have been awarded to minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE). This is the largest participation of MWBE firms on any public-private partnership project in New York state history. With construction of new airport facilities fully underway, MWBE participation at JFK will continue to break records until the redevelopment is substantially complete expected in 2028. JFK redevelopment also demonstrates a significant focus on working with local contractors, awarding more than $950 million in contracts to Queens-based businesses to date.

“New York remains committed to providing travellers with a premier experience that includes world-class amenities and record involvement by local minority- and women-owned businesses will ensure just that,” Governor Hochul said. “This transformative project uplifts these businesses and deepens investments in the community while bolstering the state workforce.”

With the announcement, JFK surpasses the LaGuardia Airport redevelopment, which set the previous New York State record for minority and women-owned business enterprises participation in a public-private project with $2.2 billion in contracts awarded. As the $19 billion JFK project moves forward, additional contracts with MWBE firms will be awarded to meet with the Port Authority’s goal of 30% MWBE participation for the agency’s capital projects, consistent with Governor Hochul’s nation-leading goals for MWBE utilisation in state projects. The Port Authority is working closely with its private terminal developer partners – the New Terminal One, Delta Air Lines and JFKIAT, JFK Millennium Partners, and American Airlines – to engage minority and women-owned businesses along with local businesses in every aspect of the redevelopment programme. To date, 680 MWBEs have been awarded contracts at JFK along with more than 200 businesses based in Queens.

Further minority and women-owned business enterprises projects 

The latest MWBE and local business participation milestones were celebrated at JFK’s Building 111, a 76-year-old office building on the airport’s north side that underwent extensive renovations in order to create a collaborative workspace for the JFK redevelopment construction and programme management teams to work alongside each other, including the private terminal developers who are financing and overseeing the terminal projects. The $20 million renovation of Building 111 was designed and constructed mainly by MWBE and local contractors. Sabor Restaurant & Bakery, a local, Queens-based MWBE food vendor, will operate out of a brand-new cafeteria.

To increase minority and women-owned business enterprises participation at the JFK redevelopment programme, and across the agency, the Port Authority and its private terminal partners at JFK hosted a variety of capacity-building and technical training programmes that prepared firms to be successful in navigating what can at times be complex airport-related procurements. These programmes include an academy for principals at architecture and engineering firms, contractor coaching programmes that train firms to apply for contracts and construction mentoring programmes that recruit, train and mentor MWBE firms to bid on large public construction projects, and project readiness boot camps. The redevelopment team has also sponsored hundreds of seminars, webinars and forums to help firms become MWBE certified, meet and network with prime contractors, and build the skill sets needed to be successful in the field.

Responses by authorities 

Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said, “The Port Authority is committed to supporting inclusiveness in the design, financing, construction and operation of our major redevelopment projects across the region by setting ambitious goals for MWBE participation. Just as we’ve done at Newark-Liberty’s new Terminal A and at LaGuardia Airport, JFK’s redevelopment is a game-changer for MWBE firms that were too often left on the side lines during these historic capital projects.”

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said, “When we embarked on this historic, $19 billion public-private effort to transform JFK into a world-class international gateway we pledged that the economic opportunities generated at the airport would flow fairly to the neighbourhood surrounding the airport. Working with our private partners at JFK and with our JFK redevelopment community advisory council, we have turned that pledge into economic reality for hundreds of MWBEs and local businesses.”

JFKIAT, JFK terminal 4 operator Chief Executive Officer Roel Huinink said, “As a Queens-based business, JFKIAT has a long history of supporting our local community, from facilitating local business owners’ participation in our Street Market programme at T4, to providing resources to local non-profits and educational institutions through our 4GOOD programme, and much more. We are very proud to work with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Delta Air Lines, and our redevelopment partners to create more opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses through this ground breaking initiative, ensuring that our neighbours and our entire community benefit from JFK’s transformation into a word-class airport.”

JFK Millennium Partners CEO Steve Thody said, “We are immensely proud to be part of JFK’s historic redevelopment and its future legacy as a model for other airports to follow. With over 200 MWBE and local firms currently working on the T6 project – and many more to follow, we are excited to play our part in providing social and economic opportunities for our surrounding community.”

Redeveloping JFK Airport in lockstep with the local community

In 2018, the JFK redevelopment community advisory council was formed. It is co-chaired by U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and is composed of elected officials, community boards, business and non-profit organisations, civic organisations, and clergy leaders from the targeted local communities of southeast Queens, southwest Queens, the Rockaways, and western portions of Nassau County.

Since its inception, the council has been working with the Port Authority and its private partners to expand community outreach efforts and develop community-focused programmes, ensuring that this ambitious project solicits ongoing feedback from local stakeholders and provides meaningful opportunities for local businesses, MWBEs, students and jobseekers. This includes programming to advance the Port Authority’s commitment to a 30% minority and women-owned business enterprises contracting goal in all categories of work, and a special focus on opportunities for local businesses across all aspects of the redevelopment of JFK, including terminal projects, which will be built by union labour under project-labour agreements.

Other community development initiatives prioritised by the council focus on job opportunities and workforce development programmes for residents in Southeast Queens, small business outreach and development, and educational programming for local students.

Specifically, the council for airport opportunity rockaway career centre is a job recruiting and referral programme to match qualified job seekers with jobs in construction and airport operations focused on the far rockaway community. The office of second chance employment helps connect formerly incarcerated individuals and others with past involvement in the criminal justice system to jobs associated with both airport construction and airport operations.

Transforming JFK into a world-class global gateway

In January 2017, the JFK Vision Plan was announced to transform JFK into the world-class airport that New Yorkers deserve. The vision plan provides a strategic framework for the Port Authority and its partners to completely redevelop, modify and expand existing facilities and infrastructure. The $9.5 billion development of a state-of-the-art new terminal one that will anchor the airport’s south side broke ground in September 2022. A new $4.2 billion Terminal 6, which will connect seamlessly with Terminal 5 to create an anchor terminal on the airport’s north side, broke ground in February 2023. The $1.5 billion expansion of Terminal 4, led by Delta Air Lines and JFK International Air Terminal is substantially complete. Additionally, the $400 million expansion of Terminal 8, led by American Airlines, which operates the terminal, was completed in November 2022.

All of the privately financed terminal projects combined with the Port Authority’s roadway, parking and infrastructure projects represent a $19 billion transformation of JFK and an extraordinary series of public-private partnerships. The Port Authority’s capital investment of $3.9 billion is leveraging private investment at a rate of nearly four to one when taking into account the full private investment of more than $15 billion that has been committed to the four projects comprising the full redevelopment of JFK.

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