JFK to get live animal handling facility

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The ARK at JFK, a privately-owned animal handling facility, will soon become a reality. ARK Development LLC, an affiliate of real estate company Racebrook Capital, signed a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to develop, finance, build, operate and manage the $48 million project.

With 178,000 square-feet, the ARK will contain a cargo facility, and a USDA-approved, full-service, 24-hour airport quarantine area for the import and export of horses, pets, birds and livestock. The ARK at JFK will be built on the current site of Cargo Building 78, on 14.4 acres, which includes direct access to the taxiway and aircraft ramp parking. Aircraft will be able to taxi right to the building so horses can be transported directly to reduce stress.

A large-animal departure lounge for horses being exported will have comfortable stalls and access to food and water. An arrival area for horses provides a place for their vital signs to be taken before they are placed in individually climate-controlled areas with bedding and natural light.

Professor Temple Grandin, the leading authority on livestock movement, designed the livestock export handling area. The facility will allow for the safe handling of cattle, goats, pigs and sheep from truck to aircraft. Aaron Pearl, with Racebrook, said he cold-called Grandin, and ten minutes later she and her lead designer signed up. It’s a possibility that the facility could be named after Grandin.

Additionally, Paradise 4 Paws, a resort for cats and dogs, with locations at Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver airports, will occupy 20,000 square feet at the JFK facility with overnight accommodations for cats and dogs, doggie daycare, grooming, training and airport parking.

Racebrook’s anchor tenant will be Consolidated Aviation Services, an air cargo ground handler, which will sublease about half of the facility for non-animal airfreight. The entire facility will significantly increase cargo throughput at JFK.

The project is being financed by Build NYC, along with equity partner Westport Capital Partners LLC, and construction lender the Union Labor Life Insurance Co. real estate investment group.

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