The Ark at JFK to open next year

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A new posh luxurious airport terminal for high-flying animals, called The Ark, is getting constructed at JFK International Airport in New York and is set to open next year.
A posh new 21st century animal handling facility is getting ready at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York. Called The Ark, the new world-class facility covering an area of 178,000 square feet, to be completed at a cost of $48million, will handle roughly 70,000 domestic and wild animals annually. The centre, set to open next year, will set new national airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services. The Ark, will include “a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, animal daycare services and more efficient ways to transport animals worldwide, including exotic species,” said a statement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). Artists’ renderings suggest that animal passengers may enjoy more amenities than their human counterparts, including a lap pool and private rooms. The cattle gates, on the other hand, may look familiar. The new facility under construction will replace VetPort, a 10,000-square-foot kennel that has been around since the 1950s. According to a 2013 report by the New York City Economic Development Corp. and the PANYNJ, the VetPort was “poorly” managed and the report said the facility "suffered from a location that insulated it from the traveling public for whom a large portion of its revenue … was targeted." As part of the 30-year lease agreement, ARK Development, LLC, an affiliate of leading real estate company Racebrook Capital, took over the building 78 at JFK and 14.4 acres of ground area. PANYNJ estimates receiving more than $108 million in rent over the lease term, consisting of fixed rent and revenue-sharing percentage fees. The Ark at JFK is being designed by leading architects, designers and engineers, including master architect Gensler, equine-specialty architect Gralla Equine Architects (GH2), construction manager Holt and Grandin Livestock Handling Systems (GLHS), with guidance from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the US Department of Agriculture. "The animal terminal will set new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services," said Ark founder and Racebrook Chairman John J. Cuticelli Jr. in a statement. The Ark is the brainchild of developers John Cuticelli and Aaron Perl of Racebrook Capital, who specialize in reviving distressed hotels and condos. The duo saw serious profit potential in the opportunity to replace VetPort. By transforming an abandoned 178,000-square-foot cargo terminal into a top-notch animal shelter and quarantine, they are on track to make money by charging owners just as a hotel would. A hotel is what Cliff Bollmann of Gensler and his team of six architects and six engineers are in many ways building at The Ark paying meticulous attention to the guests’ multiple needs. Bollmann is one of the world's leading airport architects. He designed the smart looking JetBlue terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport and worked on others in San Francisco, Boston and the Kamraj Domestic Terminal at Chennai International Airport in India. “Gensler is accustomed to designing airports with an eye to fostering wellbeing for people, yet The Ark at JFK posed a unique design challenge for us: to create a place that could ease and simplify the sometimes complex process of transporting animals by plane,” said Bollmann. “For the animals who pass through The Ark, as well as the people who own them, air travel can be stressful and confusing. Aligning the needs of quarantine with kenneling and elevating the experience for animals and their owners, our design team sought to create a comfortable, healthy environment for them all,” he added.
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