Arif Soni, owner of Metropolitan Construction Corp., examined the brick and stone work his company completed for the landmarked 120th Precinct on Richmond Terrace in Staten Island. He was pleased with the work.
“You have to be slow and careful when cutting the stones,” the 65-year-old construction expert said. “You have to be meticulous.”
Soni, whose company was hired by the NYC Department of Design and Construction to renovate the precinct’s exterior, has been in the construction industry for 36 years. He is a specialist in exterior renovations, roofing and waterproofing. Over the course of his career he has earned two Lucy B. Moses Preservation awards from the New York Landmarks Conservancy for excellence in landmark preservation. His company is registered with the City as a Minority- and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE).
The DDC’s Office of Diversity & Industry Relations develops, implements and monitors innovative policies and procedures to support M/WBEs, strengthening relationships with industry partners through outreach and matchmaking events, open houses, seminars and educational opportunities that help emerging construction firms procure City contracts and do business with the City.
“M/WBE contractors do great work on DDC projects all across the five boroughs,” said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “We’re committed to expanding the local construction industry by helping M/WBEs succeed. Given the opportunity, the best firms will rise to the top.”
Since its inception in 2015, DDC’s Office of Diversity & Industry Relations has engaged almost 4,000 M/WBEs, either through direct outreach or at networking events. In that time, DDC has held more than 40 building workshop sessions to help M/WBEs.
“The M/WBE program definitely helps minority firms,” said Arif Soni, who is originally from Pakistan. “As a participant, you never know what is going to come down the pipeline or who you’re going to meet. It’s great for growing business.”
Over the life of the 120th Precinct, many stones were damaged from weather and wear and tear. The project replaced the building’s terra cotta stone and brickwork, as well as the roof. Window sills were replaced with blue stone and lined with copper. Building materials were also purchased from M/WBE suppliers, according to Soni. Old mortar joints were replaced and stones that were in good enough shape to be preserved were cleaned and repointed.
Attention to detail in completing the project was of utmost importance. Located across the street from the Staten Island Yankees’ stadium, the precinct is a charming remnant of classic New York City architecture. The precinct remained fully operational during construction, which was completed on time within an 18-month schedule.
DDC is a leading City agency for contract awards to M/WBE firms, helping New York City move closer to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of awarding 30% of the value of City contracts by 2021 to M/WBEs. From City Fiscal Year 2015 to Fiscal Year 2017, DDC awarded more than $1.57 billion in contracts to M/WBEs.
For more information about DDC’s programs for M/WBEs, how to become a DDC pre-qualified contractor, or about DDC’s construction management training and education programs, call the DDC Office of Diversity & Industry Relations at 718-391-2127 or email DDCODIR@ddc.nyc.gov. More information is on the DDC website here.