(Baychester, Bronx – May 18, 2023) NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan, NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley and Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) Chief Executive Officer Risa Weinstock joined advocates and members of the community today to break ground on the new Animal Care Center in the Baychester neighborhood of the Bronx. The $92 million project, which is anticipated to open in Spring 2025, is being managed by DDC for the Health Department and ACC.
The new Center represents the City’s ongoing commitment to furry, four-legged residents – as well as their human families – by maintaining a full-service animal shelter in each borough.
“As we move forward with building an animal care center in the Bronx, which for too long has gone without one, we take another step toward a more equitable city,” said Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Fred Kreizman. “Bronx residents shouldn’t have to leave the borough to access important services offered by ACC, and this brand-new facility will benefit people and animals alike.”
“We know that companionship is an antidote to isolation, and can improve our well-being and quality-of-life,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “We’re looking forward to bringing this Center online for New Yorkers of all species. It’s the least we can do for them, considering all that they do for us.”
“This new facility will provide many services for animals we all love (dogs, cats and even rabbits!) as they wait to be partnered with their future owners. The new building will also include a space for the community to use as well,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “We just opened a new Center in Staten Island and now we’re working with DOHMH on new shelters in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn to make sure animals get the treatment they deserve.”
“Often, what’s good for animals is good for people, and it’s certainly true in this case,” said Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare Director Alexandra Silver. “This new center will expand our city’s ability to care for animals in need and bring essential services to Bronx residents. It will be an important resource for community members with or looking for companion animals, as well as a hub for career, volunteer, and educational opportunities. Thank you to ACC for their dedication to NYC animals and the people who care for them, and to the advocates whose commitment and years of work helped make this project a reality.”
“With great pride, we break ground today for the new animal shelter in the Bronx. Behind this milestone achievement lies the unwavering dedication of passionate advocates and tireless individuals who have worked diligently behind the scenes. Their commitment and efforts have brought us to this momentous occasion,” said Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) Chief Executive Officer Risa Weinstock. “We are building a world-class shelter where compassion, care, and hope will thrive. This shelter will serve as a sanctuary for animals in need, a place where they will receive the love, attention, and support they deserve. Together we can make a lasting impact, thanks to the incredible advocacy and unwavering dedication of those who championed this cause.”
“The construction of a full-service animal shelter in the Bronx represents an enormous opportunity for local residents and their pets. Once the facility is up and running, vulnerable animals will no longer need to be transported to shelters in other boroughs, which will give local homeless animals their best chances at finding loving homes, facilitate reunions of lost pets with their families, and alleviate pressure on shelter operations at the other facilities,” said American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “The ASPCA works closely with Animal Care Centers of NYC to drastically reduce euthanasia, increase adoptions, and improve access to care for New York City’s most vulnerable animals, and we look forward to continuing that longstanding support as ACC expands its services to help even more animals in need in the Bronx and across the city.”
“For many Bronxites, our pets are a part of our families, and we want them to receive the best care possible,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Once completed, this new Animal Care Center in the Baychester neighborhood will ensure our residents in the Northeast Bronx have access to compassionate, comfortable, healthy, and quality care for their pets without having to leave their community. I want to thank the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Design and Construction for their work on this project and $92 million investment in our four-legged residents.”
The City’s Animal Care Centers are overseen by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and operated by Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), an independent non-profit contracted by the City.
The new 50,000-square-foot Center will provide necessary animal care and adoption services in the borough of the Bronx that support a safe, healthy, comfortable and humane environment for animals, staff and visitors.
The Center will house admissions, adoptions, medical services and boarding for approximately 70 dogs, 140 cats, 30 rabbits and up to 20 animals of other species. There will be smaller, self-contained housing groups also referred to as “pods,” which will allow flexibility in housing options and greater ease in caring for animals.
Open areas on the site will include yards to facilitate dog adoptions, covered exercise runs, courtyards and parking for staff, visitors and animal transportation vehicles, as well as site lighting and low-maintenance native planting throughout. In addition to the animal housing, the Center will include a community space. The building and associated landscape are anticipated to achieve LEED Silver Certification for environmental sustainability.
The new Center was designed by the firm Marvel under DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence Program, which pre-qualifies firms to provide design services for its public buildings projects, reducing the time required to procure design services while ensuring the highest levels of quality and professionalism in construction projects managed by the agency. DDC last year announced that 20 firms have been selected to provide architectural design services in the current round of the Program, including ten Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).
ACC is a non-profit organization contracted by DOHMH to serve as the city’s open-admissions animal-shelter system. ACC finds placement for animals through direct adoptions from the public and through partnerships with hundreds of other animal welfare organizations. Before animals are adopted, ACC ensures that every animal is vaccinated and micro-chipped. ACC offers resources to reduce pet surrenders and help people keep their animal companions and reunites lost pets with their families.
The Animal Care Center in the Bronx is one of several animal adoption and shelter projects DDC is currently working on throughout the City, including new Centers in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In October 2022, the City celebrated the completion of the Center in Staten Island. ACC is managing the construction of the new Center in Queens.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor Adams’ long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.