Meet The Ark: JFK’s New $48 Million Equine Air Cargo Facility

ARKatJFK_GH2_Export-e1422642980792Horses traveling through the new, state-of-the-art animal handling facility coming to JFK Airport in New York will have access to day-lit stalls, 24-hour veterinary care, and a departures lounge—because who doesn’t appreciate a plush couch and some Scotch on the rocks before takeoff?

ARK Development, LLC, a Racebrook Portfolio Company, has signed a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to create and manage the $48-million, 178,000-square-foot intelligent air cargo facility. Set on 14.4 acres, the site will house a USDA-approved, 24-hour airport quarantine area to handle the import and export of horses, pets, birds, and livestock. “The animal terminal will set new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services,” says The ARK at JFK Founder and Racebrook Chairman John J. Cuticelli, Jr.

The Ark will be divided into three main sections: the air cargo wing; a central administrative center with a 24-hour veterinary hospital; and the main animal handling area, which includes a pet boarding facility, an animal import and export center, and a livestock export handling system. Designed by master architect Gensler, GH2 Gralla Equine Architects, construction manager Holt, and Grandin Livestock Handling Systems—with guidance from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture—the completed facility is expected to significantly increase cargo throughput at the airport. “The ARK at JFK represents an enormous leap forward in the care and comfort of horses and cattle,” says Ms. Lachlan Oldaker of GH2 Gralla Equine Architects. “The design allows planes to taxi directly to the building, so horses can be transported in a seamless fashion that reduces stress.”
Other perks include a large animal departure lounge, where horses for export will have access to comfortable stalls, food, and water. There will also be an arrivals area where their vitals can be taken before they are placed in their individual climate controlled stalls, equipped with bedding and natural light (and presumably a welcome cocktail and cool towel). In addition, state-of-the-art veterinary care will be available 24/7, 365 days a year, with services including: general medicine, emergency, critical care, internal medicine, surgery, and advanced diagnostics.

“For the animals who pass through The Ark, as well as the people who own them, air travel can be stressful and confusing,”says Gensler architect Cliff Bollmann. “[By] 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.”