$85.2 million contract awarded for Jamaica Armory reconstruction work in Queens

Project will take at least three years and work should begin by the end of October

QUEENS, NY (10/14/2020) (readMedia)-- The renovation of the Jamaica Armory in Queens, New York has taken another step forward with the award of the construction contract to Suffolk Construction Company, Inc., the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs announced today.

Work on the $85.2 million project is slated to begin at the end of October.

Suffolk Construction Company,which is headquartered in Boston with offices in New York City,was founded in 1982.

The key components of the three-year project call for overhauling the existing 140,787 square foot armory to better support Army National Guard training, administrative, and logistics requirements and accommodate incoming units.

The project is a vital part of bringing New York National Guard facilities into the 21st Century, according to Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York.

"I cannot overstate how important the Jamaica Armory rehabilitation project is to the Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard, and to our overall readiness and responsiveness in NYC during emergencies. The building was built starting in 1933 and is in desperate need of renovation and does not meet the needs of the modern U.S. Army," Shields said.

"I cannot thank Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer enough for their support in obtaining the funding necessary for this important project. Once completed, the Jamaica Armory will be a place our Soldiers will be proud to call their unit's home," the general added.

The New York State Office of General Services managed procurement and design services and will continue to provide oversight and construction management services throughout the project.

"The New York National Guard has proven time and again that it can be counted on to assist New York City during challenging times," OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said.

"We at OGS are proud of the design and construction role we are playing in the Jamaica Armory renovation project and see it as a way to demonstrate our appreciation and to ensure those National Guard members can conduct their training in a modern, safe facility that meets their needs," Destito said.

LiRo Program and Construction Management, PE P.C., which is part of the LiRo Group headquartered in Syosset, Long Island, with offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, was previously awarded a contract by OGS to oversee the project as the construction manager. CHA Consulting, Inc., which is headquartered in Albany and has offices in Brooklyn, is the designer of record.

The work on the armory will include new plumbing, electrical, HVAC, information technology systems, window replacement, and a roof replacement. New locker rooms will be installed, ensuring adequate space for female soldiers.

The massive "drill shed" area of the armory, originally designed with a dirt floor and used for training horses, will become military vehicle parking and a state-of-the-art field maintenance shop.

A 38,000 second story readiness center will be constructed within the drill shed to accommodate additional units and training without expanding the building footprint. The original marble-clad lobby and wood-paneled conference room will also be restored.

The 425 New York Army National Guard Soldiers who normally train at the armory, members of the 442nd Military Police Company and 258th Field Artillery Battalion, are now training at other locations.

The federal government and New York State will share the cost of the upgrades. The federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost while the state government will pay for 25 percent.

Congress appropriated up to $91 million for the project in a federal spending appropriation spearheaded by Sen. Charles Schumer and other members of the New York Congressional delegation.

The Jamaica Armory currently houses 425 Soldiers assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, Company F of the 427th Brigade Support Battalion, and the 442nd Military Police Company.

These units have temporarily relocated to other New York Army National Guard facilities in New York City and Long Island prior to construction.

A similar project at the Fifth Avenue Armory in Harlem, home of the famous Harlem Hell Fighters upgraded that historic facility into a state-of-the-art training and logistics location. That project cost $62 million over four years.

Planning for the initial construction of the Jamaica Armory began in 1928 when the Armory Board went looking for a plot of land to serve as a new home for the New York National Guard's 104th Artillery Regiment. In 1931, the board filed plans for an armory estimated to cost $1.75 million with the Queens Borough government.

When completed in 1936, the Art Deco-style Amory cost $1.5 million to build. The plans included space for a gymnasium, company offices, a lounge, locker rooms, recreation areas, a pistol range and a bowling alley.

There was also a stable with space for 138 horses used to pull the 104th Artillery's 75-millimeter guns left over from World War I. A harness shop to repair the horse's harnesses was also included. Architect Charles B. Meyers, who specialized in designing schools, hospitals and public buildings, designed the armory.

The 104th Artillery occupied the Armory in April of 1936.

Over the years, however, the structure of the armory has deteriorated and its layout and infrastructure no longer meets the needs of the 21st Century Army National Guard.

The Jamaica Armory is a critical training location for the New York Army National Guard and has always served as a key support location when the National Guard assists New York City residents.

During the Superstorm Sandy response in 2012, hundreds of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen operated from the armory for several weeks.