Do you dream of redeveloping & economically revitalizing a defunct, 80-acre maximum security prison near the Hudson River?

On July 18, 2023, Empire State Development, in partnership with the New York Office of General Services and Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the former Downstate Correctional Facility located in Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York.

This Request for Proposals advances recommendations made by the Prison Redevelopment Commission and builds on first-in-the-nation strategic efforts to reimagine former prison sites from an economic revitalization focus as prison populations shrink and prisons close.

The Request for Proposals is also a part of Governor Kathy Hochul‘s ongoing effort to identify state-owned sites for potential residential uses to increase the state’s housing supply in light of the housing crisis.

The formation of the Prison Redevelopment Commission, announced nearly one year ago, was the first comprehensive analysis in the United States for the reuse and redevelopment of New York’s closed facilities,” Governor Hochul said.

The Commission compiled thoughtful, realistic information and recommendations that considered input from both experts and community stakeholders, and we are hitting the ground running and taking major steps to move these recommendations forward in ways that will give impacted communities a voice on the future of these closed sites,” she added.

Governor Hochul also announced that Empire State Development has secured necessary approvals for the transfer of Livingston Correctional Facility to the Livingston County Industrial Development Agency, advancing another key recommendation from the Prison Redevelopment Commission’s 2022 Unlocking Opportunity report.

Request for Proposals to Redevelop Downstate Correctional Facility

The primary development objective for the redevelopment of the Downstate Correctional Facility is to maximize benefits to the surrounding community and region while prioritizing housing. Following the Governor’s directive and in accordance with recommendations from the Unlocking Opportunity report, the Request for Proposals (RFP) places a strong emphasis on housing in a mix of unit sizes and affordability ranges and makes up to $8 million in incentives available to eligible respondents to address remediation and demolition costs. View RFP here.

The former maximum-security site covers approximately 80 acres of land, 50 of which are within the perimeter security and 30 of which are outside. There are 34 buildings on the property, totaling 558,000 square feet.

The site is located in the Town of Fishkill and is adjacent to the City of Beacon. It is approximately 70 miles north of New York City and approximately 95 miles south of Albany.

Fishkill, which is positioned along the Hudson River, has a rich history as a strategic north-south passageway. Today, the town is primarily composed of residential neighborhoods but has several commercial hubs.

The town has also seen a surge in technology and advanced manufacturing companies in recent years. GlobalFoundries, a multinational semiconductor manufacturing and design company, opened a facility in a former IBM office in East Fishkill in 2015.

In addition, Dutchess Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 4500 and is home to the Hudson Valley Renegades minor league baseball team, is in West Fishkill, just a mile southwest of the site.

New York State Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “As a member of Governor Hochul’s Prison Redevelopment Commission, it is great to see this administration quickly following through on its commitment to advancing the redevelopment and adaptive reuse of closed correctional facilities in ways that will bolster New York’s economy and meet the needs of impacted communities. The OGS Team looks forward to continuing its work with our state and local partners to implement the recommendations included in the Unlocking Opportunity report.”

The site is also proximate to several higher education institutions, including SUNY Orange, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Ulster, Vassar College, Dutchess Community College, the Culinary Institute of America, and United States Military Academy (West Point).

Livingston Correctional Facility

Additionally, the ESD Board of Directors and the Public Authorities Control Board have authorized ESD to advance the process to transfer the shuttered Livingston Correctional Facility to the Livingston County Industrial Development Authority.

Once this transfer is complete, Livingston County would begin developing the site with job creating economic activity in the southern end of Livingston County, bringing a site previously costing the state money back on the local tax rolls.

This would be the first completed transfer of a site studied by the Prison Redevelopment Commission for economic development purposes.

Prison Redevelopment Commission

As reported here in REVITALIZATION, back in May 2022, Governor Hochul convened the Prison Redevelopment Commission, comprising leading experts in the community and economic development, real estate, criminal justice reform, and government sectors, to address vacant and blighted prison facilities and develop a set of recommendations for creative uses.

The Commission issued its findings, including 13 recommendations to facilitate the redevelopment of closed prisons, in the Unlocking Opportunity report in December.

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner Daniel F. Martuscello III said, “Since the Commission released its report, DOCCS, in partnership with other state agencies, has continued to review, evaluate and recommend redevelopment strategies for prisons that are no longer required due to a drastic decline in the incarcerated population. I commend the Governor’s leadership in convening this group whose work is vital to the economic development of our partners in the communities, which have been impacted by prison closures, and it is an honor to play a role in this redevelopment mission.

ESD, in partnership with DOCCS and OGS, is working to advance recommendations from the report. Since the report was issued, razor wire has been removed on time and under budget from the Mt. McGregor, Willard and Ogdensburg facilities. The removal of this wire will make the sites more conducive to redevelopment and cut a considerable expense out of future redevelopment costs.

Furthermore, at the recommendation of the Prison Redevelopment Commission, four sites have been “kept warm.”

These sites include Willard, Moriah, Ogdensburg, and Livingston. This practice preserves the on-site buildings and infrastructure between the time of closure and redevelopment, reducing the costs associated with future renovation or demolition of deteriorating buildings.

Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “As Co-Chair of the Prison Redevelopment Commission, its recommendations have been a top priority. We look forward to ensuring that communities impacted by prison closures have the resources they need to shape their economic future and breathe new life into these unused facilities.”

Proposals must be received by ESD via DropBox by August 23, 2023, at 2 p.m.
Potential Respondents may also attend a site tour that is anticipated to be scheduled on or around August 2, 2023.
RSVP to by July 31, 2023, at 5 p.m.

Image courtesy of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

See full RFP.

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