NY Korea Center budget sees increase

May 15, 2015
The proposed Korea Center in New York

The proposed Korea Center in New York

By The Korea Times New York staff

The budget for New York’s Korea Center project, the building of which has fallen through with five construction companies in the last two and a half years, has finally increased.

A new estimation of total construction costs puts the project at about $36.2 million, a $7.3 million increase from the original estimate, according to an announcement by South Korea’s Public Procurement Service Thursday.

The center, which had an original completion date of August 2014, has suffered from failed deals with construction companies due to its low budget and high requirements for construction bids.

The increase in budget is expected to help find it a builder.

The Korean Cultural Service New York has been criticized since the beginning of the project for its bidding requirement — calling for a company that has finished at least one project at a cost of $27.6 million or more in the past 10 years — for effectively excluding Korean builders.

When completed, Korea Center will stand eight stories high as a 33,000 square foot facility between Lexington Ave. and Park Avenue. It is expected to become a new Hallyu hub, equipped with exhibition and performing spaces, lecture rooms and a library

Center construction is overseen by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; local organizations, like the Korean American Construction Association of New York and the KCS, have joined in the effort to get the project off the ground since it began construction in Dec. 2012.

In February, KACANY gave KCS six Korean construction candidates.