Location, Location, Location: Historic prison to be redeveloped as affordable housing, and it’s across the street from Central Park!

Here in REVITALIZATION, we’ve previously featured New York Governor Kathy Hochul‘s visionary efforts to repurpose and innovatively redevelop closed prisons all across the state, a program designed to help revitalize nearby economies.

In December of 2022, Governor Hochul released the New York Prison Redevelopment Commission recommendations that details analyses of 12 closed prisons and considers redevelopment opportunities for each site to help them better serve the State’s economic needs.

Now, on March 16, 2023, she has announced a Request for Proposals for the redevelopment of the former Lincoln Correctional Facility, located at 31 – 33 West 110th Street in Harlem (a neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City).

The currently unused, 10,000 square-foot site, across the street from Central Park, presents an opportunity to create a vibrant and sustainable redevelopment that maximizes economic potential, supports job creation, and meets the growing demand for affordable housing in New York City.

The former Lincoln Correctional Facility presents a prime opportunity to transform a massive, abandoned facility into a community anchor and address critical needs like affordable housing,” Governor Hochul said.

My administration will continue to think creatively and strategically about vacant and unused prisons – including our review of the Prison Redevelopment Commission’s recommendations – to unlock our housing potential, grow economic opportunity, and move New York forward,” she added.

Previously, Governor Hochul announced the New York Housing Compact, a statewide strategy to address New York’s housing crisis by building 800,000 new homes over the next decade to meet the rising demand.

In an effort to build on the Governor’s vision of making New York more affordable, this new RFP encourages proposals to maximize the number of affordable units created as part of the Lincoln Redevelopment. The project will also prioritize working with minority and women-owned (MWBE) development firms and would award up to 20% of the available points to proposals led by MWBEs.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The redevelopment of Lincoln Correctional Center presents an opportunity for the site to be reimagined as a smart, sustainable development that addresses the economic and housing needs of the Harlem community. Building on the Governor’s commitment to making New York more affordable, this RFP encourages proposals to maximize the number of affordable units created. By prioritizing affordable housing as well as meaningful participation of MWBEs, we can ensure that this development will be inclusive, equitable, and meets the rising demand for housing. We urge interested parties to submit innovative proposals that fully harness the site’s potential to deliver affordable housing and create a thriving hub of opportunity that will benefit the surrounding community.

Before opening as a correctional facility in 1976, the building has served several civic and community uses. Constructed in 1914, it was originally used by the Young Women’s Hebrew Association to serve newly arrived immigrants.

During World War II, the building provided a place of rest for the U.S. Army. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, the building was rented by the New York City school system and used as The New Lincoln School. In 1951, New York City purchased the building for continued use as a school. From 1976 until September 2019, the building operated as a minimum-security correctional facility.

Lincoln Correctional Facility closed in 2019 as part of the State’s ongoing initiative to decommission several underutilized correctional facilities across New York State. The location of the site sits directly across from Central Park and proximate to transit, retail, schools, and premier cultural institutions.

This presents a unique and exciting opportunity for redevelopment for the purposes specified in the RFP, including the creation of affordable housing as well as new cultural and educational spaces for the Harlem community.

The primary development objectives for this RFP are to maximize economic benefit to New York City and the State through the redevelopment of the site in ways that advance the creation of affordable homes, new jobs, provide job training opportunities, stimulate the local economy, and integrate the site into the local community.

By prioritizing these goals, the site can serve as a catalyst for inclusive and sustainable urban development, positively impacting the lives of residents, and contributing to the long-term growth and prosperity of the region.

To receive a higher score in the RFP evaluation, proposals should address the following development objectives:

  • Maximize the number of affordable housing units;
  • Provide new job opportunities for local residents;
  • Exhibit well-considered planning and design principles;
  • Incorporate sustainable and green building practices;
  • Ensure meaningful participation of Minority Owned Business Enterprises (“MBE”), Women Owned Business Enterprises (“WBE”) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned-Businesses (“SDVOB”).

This redevelopment of Lincoln Correctional Facility complements Governor Hochul’s efforts to reimagine Upstate closed prisons for innovative redevelopment opportunities across New York State.

Proposals must be submitted to Empire State Development by May 23, 2023 at 2:00pm ET.

2008 photo is by Jim Henderson via Wikipedia.

View the RFP.

You must be logged in to post a comment