Construction underway for The ARK animal terminal at JFK International

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ARK Development, a subsidiary of real estate firm Racebrook Capital, has begun constructing a luxury animal handling and quarantine terminal called The ARK at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.

When complete, the US$48m Ark will provide a multi-purpose animal handling and quarantine facility, complete with veterinary hospital, diagnostic laboratory, and companion animal boarding and grooming spa. The facility has been approved by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and has a completion date of early 2016.

Racebrook signed a 30-year lease with the airport operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in January 2015. The 178,000ft2 facility will occupy Cargo Building 78 at the airport, which has been vacant since 2004. The site has both airside and landside access.

John J Cuticelli, Jr. chairman of Racebrook, said, “We identified the highest and best use for this former cargo terminal, and after repurposing the existing steel skeletal structure, The Ark will be the first-ever, USDA-approved, full-service 24-hour airport quarantine facility for the import and export of horses, pets, birds and livestock. This initiative is in keeping with Racebrook’s mission to create value and superior returns with innovative projects in high barrier to entry markets.”

The ARK at JFK was designed in partnership with architect Gensler, equine designer Lachlan Oldaker, livestock handling system specialist Temple Grandin, and engineering firm Clough Harbour Associates. Overall construction management will be provided by Holt Construction; Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will provide consultation services throughout all phases of planning and operational development.

Subtenants already signed up to the project include air cargo ground handler Consolidated Aviation Services; Paradise 4 Paws, which will operate a 20,000ft2 pet resort, spa and training center for cats and dogs; and LifeCare, a companion animal veterinary hospital, which will serve the general public for general medicine, emergency, critical care, internal medicine, surgery and advanced diagnostics.

Dr Aaron S Perl, managing director of The ARK at JFK and general counsel of The Racebrook Portfolio Companies, said, “With demand for pets and animals of all kinds transported by air escalating year on year, we recognized the need for a more humane and efficient model for this significant segment of the air travel industry. The committed and enthusiastic participation by all stakeholders – including aviation and cargo industry leaders, federal, state and municipal government, public and private companies, academia and, of course, animal lovers and owners across the globe – is indicative of a shared vision and common goal that have sparked the imagination and which Racebrook and ARK Development are making a reality.”

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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