Minority, Women and Local Construction Firms Learn About Bid Opportunities at Manhattanville Campus Development

Slide 1On January 31st, over 150 minority-, women- and locally-owned (MWL) construction firms attended an information session to learn about upcoming bid opportunities at Columbia University's Manhattanville Campus development. These businesses had the chance to meet the construction managers and project team members working on the development and to speak with representatives from New York City business assistance organizations. 

Representatives from Columbia and construction managers Lend Lease and McKissack and McKissack described and answered questions about upcoming contracting and subcontracting opportunities, which include projects related to the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, a new scientific research and teaching facility that will serve as the intellectual home for Columbia's expanding initiative in mind, brain and behavior, and the Central Energy Plant, a 75,000 square foot state-of-the-art below-grade facility designed to sustainably serve the new campus. Attendees also learned about the development's stringent safety and clean construction requirements as well as other trade contractor requirements.

The information session was part of Columbia's ongoing, significant commitment to MWL participation in construction contracting. The University has a goal of 35% construction contract spending with MWL firms, with a preference on maximizing local - 17 specific zip codes in Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx - participation. While the actual percentage will fluctuate depending on the type of work being completed, the University is off to a good start and is currently exceeding the goal: from August 1, 2008 through March 31, 2011, 47% of the Project Area construction contracts (excluding Special Construction Services and related construction materials) was spent with MWL firms for a total spend of $17.2 million. Of the $17.2 million paid, 70% (or $12.1 million) went to local firms. 

In attendance were several firms from Columbia's MWL contracting mentorship program, which has been adopted as a city-wide model and has resulted in more than 50 firms graduating from the program and receiving more than $32 million in construction-related contracts with New York City and Columbia University. 

Representatives from the NYC Department of Small Business Services and NYC Business Solutions were also on hand to provide information on professional business advisement, education and other resources. Firms can also receive assistance from the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the only state SBDC in Harlem, which, since its start in 2009, have advised over 600 businesses and non-profit employers.

For more information on the Manhattanville Campus development, please visit http://campusplan.columbia.edu.



Columbia University Vice President of Manhattanville Development Philip Pitruzzello provides attendees with an overview of the campus development.



Construction firms fill out prequalification forms so they can access opportunities to bid on upcoming and future construction projects