UN Headquarters renovation project proceeding on schedule, report says

24 October 2008

The five-year, $1.9 billion renovation designed to make the landmark United Nations Headquarters Complex in New York more modern, safe and sustainable is proceeding on schedule, according to an update on the status of the project released today.

All leases for swing space have been concluded, work is progressing well on the temporary North Lawn Conference Building, and the planning for the relocation of some 6,000 staff has been finalized, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in his latest report to the General Assembly on the project, known as the Capital Master Plan (CMP).

The required office swing space is being provided at three leased locations, two in Manhattan and one in Long Island City. The relocation of departments and offices to off-site office space is currently scheduled to begin in late 2008 and to continue to mid-2009.

The progress cited is in line with the accelerated strategy approved by the Assembly in December 2007, which is expected to result in the completion of the project by 2013 and with less disruption than the previous plan.

In addition, significant headway has been achieved in the design of the project, taking into account the changes resulting from the accelerated strategy and the value engineering exercise, as well as those related to blast protection.

The updated design also incorporates measures that will reduce energy consumption at Headquarters by 44 per cent, including an improved heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

At the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of temporary conference venue in May, Mr. Ban pledged to make the complex “a model of environmental stewardship” by reducing the UN’s electrical and water usage and by removing harmful materials that were used in the original construction.

Regarding the budget of the project, Mr. Ban states in his report that “the expenses already incurred as well as the rents that are firmly committed through the duration of the project totalled approximately $187.9 million as at July 2008.

“When the projected costs for the remainder of the project are added, the cost of the Capital Master Plan is closer to the amount budgeted than at the time of the preparation of the fifth progress report and is still on schedule.”

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Groundbreaking ceremony kicks off five-year UN renovation scheme

Shovels in hand and donning blue hard hats, members of the United Nations community, led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, today broke ground for the construction of temporary conference venue at the world body’s New York Headquarters, marking the beginning of a five-year, $1.9 billion overhaul of the landmark complex.