Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

Who's building the platform? China Construction America, part of huge, state-owned international company, and its sibling Plaza Construction

In December 2020--more than a year after a 9/30/19 article fed to the New York Post wrongly predicted that construction of the Vanderbilt Yard platform would start in 2020-- a representative of master developer Greenland Forest City Partners said they had signed a contractor to build that platform, the first phase of which would support three towers.

Scott Solish of Greenland USA, which owns nearly all of the joint venture, confirmed a contractor had been signed, one with "tremendous amounts of experience working with directly with the Long Island Rail Road," or LIRR. 

But he did not disclose the name, and has not done so since then.

However, in meeting notes (also at bottom) from the bi-monthly 5/10/22 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, that question has been answered: "The work will be conducted through a joint venture with Plaza Construction and China Construction."

(The meeting notes get posted weeks--sometimes months--later by Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. I noticed them yesterday, but they may have been up before then.)

Both client and contractors state-owned

Unmentioned: both are state-owned, essentially. China Construction of America is a subsidiary of Beijing-based China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd. (CSCEC), and in 2014 acquired Plaza Construction, which was founded in 1986 and continues to operate under that name.

CCA does have experience working with the LIRR.

CSCEC  is a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation, which is wholly owned by China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), according to Fitch Ratings. The parent owned 56.3% of CSCEC as of mid-2021, according to Fitch; the latter is publicly traded.

The parent China State Construction Engineering Corporation is the world’s largest construction firm by revenue, according to Fortune, which places it #13 on the Global 500. (Forbes places the subsidiary at #105 on the Global 2000. Yes, it's confusing.)

Similarly, Greenland Holding Group (aka Greenland Holdings Corp.), the parent of Greenland USA, is state-owned. 

Shanghai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) owned 46.37% of Greenland Holding as of mid-2021, according to Moody's, another credit ratings agency. That meant that the state controls the company, an arrangement that offers bondholders assurances, according to Moody's.

Working together

It is unsurprising that a Chinese-owned company might work with another Chinese-owned company. After all, Plaza already worked on the construction of the 550 Vanderbilt condo building. 

The companies might agree to a better deal for Greenland USA--the parent company of which is struggling--or have shared capacities/commonalities, or might get a nudge from above.

Indeed, as Reuters reported 3/15/22, Greenland was rescued from default on a $500 million offshore bond last December "after Shanghai authorities told local state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to step in and buy new Greenland debt." 

It was the first reported example where such SOEs had "been directly ordered to participate in a property sector bond offering," Reuters reported. (However much it helped, Greenland is still shaky.)

It's also unsurprising, given general tensions with China and Greenland USA's non-commitment to candor, that the joint venture would be quiet about announcing the contractor.

More on CCA

CCA, according to its web site, was founded in 1985:
Headquartered in Jersey City, NJ, CCA operates mainly in East Coast and Gulf Coast states, the Caribbean and Latin American countries. As an accomplished contractor, CCA provides services including program management, construction management, general contracting, design-build and public-private partnerships (PPP) for public and private clients. Its practical business approach and ambitious, yet prudent, development strategies enable the company to deliver high-profile and nonpareil commercial, residential, educational, industrial and heavy construction projects.
The parent is global:
Operating in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America and South America, CSCEC has completed a myriad of projects including such breathtaking architectural construction marvels as the China Central Television headquarters, Beijing National Aquatics Center (The Water Cube), Shanghai World Financial Center, Ping An Financial Center, Hong Kong International Airport, African Union Conference Center, Rama VIII Bridge and Palm Jumeirah Villas.
A message from CCA's Chairman and President, Ning Yuan:
Since 1985, CCA’s tenacious will and business acumen have propelled our company to become an industry leader characterized by excellence, superior quality and trustworthiness. As an investor, developer and builder, our commitment to innovation, respect for hard work and pursuit of a better living environment have resulted in the roads and bridges you travel on, the residences you live in, the offices you work in and the destinations where you relax. Dedicated to expanding happy spaces, we shape landscapes, build homes, inspire dreams and enrich lives through our integrity, practicality and creativity.
About Plaza

CCA states:
Plaza Construction is one of the nation’s foremost full-service construction management and general contracting firms. Since its incorporation in 1986, Plaza has grown from a local organization to a multi-faceted national presence.

Plaza’s staff of more than 500 industry professionals dedicate themselves to the highest quality of construction management service through the use of diligent coordination and proven reporting systems. For over 25 years, Plaza has had the privilege of providing construction services for a multitude of commercial properties, hospitality and residential buildings, retail venues, cultural establishments, government projects, corporate headquarters, educational institutions and health-care facilities. 
...Joining the CCA family in 2013 has made Plaza stronger than ever, as it provides the company with greater financial strength, bonding capabilities and a new latitude in dynamic growth.

Going nonunion?

The Wall Street Journal reported 4/14/15, Construction Unions’ Grip on New York Begins to Show Cracks:

The city’s largest construction firms are declining to renew collective bargaining agreements with unions, opening the door for more nonunion workers and sending the clearest signal yet that once-mighty construction trade groups are losing their grip on private-sector construction work.

At least half a dozen of New York’s largest firms, including major players such as Tishman Construction, Turner Construction Co. and Plaza Construction, in recent months have declined to sign agreements promising to use only union labor on everything from high-rise residential projects to retail, hospital, office and hotel construction, according to people familiar with the matter.
That doesn't mean this will be a non-union project, since all the major work, at least, is supposed to be union. (Surely the question will come up.) 

But it does mean that companies like the above three--all of which have worked on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park--are doing their best to save on labor costs. 

Comments