‘Staggering delays, exorbitant costs’ in New York City library, cultural building construction

Study finds significant problems with how city manages capital projects.

April 24, 2017 |

PIxabay Public Domain

A new report released by the Center for an Urban Future found significant flaws in how New York City manages capital projects for libraries and cultural institutions.

These projects encounter “staggering delays and exorbitant costs” the report says. The median new library and cultural project takes about seven years to complete and costs $930 per square foot, or roughly twice the cost of building a new office tower in the city, the report says.

The report, a joint project with the Citizens Budget Commission, analyzed 144 capital projects for libraries and cultural organizations completed between fiscal years 2010 and 2014. All were managed by the city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The report found that even seemingly routine maintenance projects end up taking years. For instance, the median mechanical system upgrade—including replacement and installation of fire alarms, boilers, and heating/cooling systems—took 4.3 years to complete. The study also found that when institutions are granted permission to self-manage capital projects, which is allowed on rare occasions, the projects typically take a fraction of the time and cost roughly 40% less.

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