Press Release Article


Date: Sep 20, 2012
Press Release Number: 128-2012

Expansive 172,165 square-foot center to operate 24/7 for worldwide import and export needs 

A 21st century animal handling facility is coming to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Port Authority commissioners today approved plans for a world class, $32 million facility at JFK that will handle roughly 70,000 domestic and wild animals annually. The center will set new national airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services.

The new facility, dubbed ARK, will offer a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, animal daycare services and more efficient ways to transport animals worldwide, including exotic species. It will create 190 jobs, $12.3 million in wages and $50.5 million in economic activity during the span of the project’s 20-year lease.

ARK Development LLC will take over the currently vacant Building 78 at JFK and 14.4 acres of ground area as part of a 20-year agreement, in which the company will invest approximately $30 million in the 108,650 square-foot main center and another $2 million in a 63,515 square-foot cargo handling facility. The Port Authority anticipates receiving more than $108 million in rent over the lease term, consisting of fixed rent and revenue-sharing percentage fees.

The center also will include a three-day equine quarantine area, dog and cat kenneling and grooming services, an aviary, lawn space for exercising animals and a veterinary hospital and rehabilitation center for horses and other large animals. There will be no animal testing done at the facility.

“The Port Authority is proud to partner with ARK to make air travel at JFK more humane for animals and convenient for pet owners,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “ARK, our private sector partner, will invest $32 million that will result in a world-class animal handling facility and establish a preeminent equine medical and surgical practice.”

“The Port Authority is continually striving to find innovative ways to meet its customers’ needs and this animal handling facility accomplishes that goal for the aviation sector,” said Vice Chair Scott Rechler. “The project also will turn this unused building back into a profitable operation that will earn the agency more than $100 million over the next two decades.”

“While most of our airport passengers walk on two legs, this new center will serve the important travel needs of our four-legged and winged friends, while helping to create regional jobs and significant revenue for the Port Authority,’’ said agency Executive Director Pat Foye. “This is another example of agency staff seeking new ways to meet niche markets and maintaining a leadership role in the aviation industry.”

“By working together, the Port Authority and ARK will bring state-of-the-art animal health services to JFK with private investment,” said agency Deputy Executor Bill Baroni. “Our passengers – and their animals – all benefit from this unique proposal.”

The new ARK will offer a wider array of services than those of the current Vetport, which is located at JFK’s Building 189, and operations will transition without interruption. ARK services will include enhanced animal boarding and equine quarantine space, which will satisfy the present and future needs of airport stakeholders and customers.

While there are animal handling facilities at both Los Angeles and Miami’s airports, ARK at JFK will be larger and offer more comprehensive services than the other two. Additionally, ARK is in extended negotiations with Cornell’s veterinary school, which would serve as the consultant on the project and the operator of the large animal hospital.

CONTACT: Ron Marsico, 212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in New York. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the state of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency relies on revenues generated by facility users, tolls, fees and rents as well as loans, bond financing, and federal grants to fund its operations. For more information, please visit

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