RFP: Redeveloper wanted to reuse vacant prison and help revitalize upstate New York

On June 11, 2018, Empire State Development (ESD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the purchase and redevelopment of the former Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County, New York.

Located 40 miles northwest of Syracuse and 50 miles east of Rochester, this minimum and medium security prison was vacated in 2014 as part of the State’s ongoing initiative to decommission and consolidate underutilized correctional facilities across New York State. Potential projects will be reviewed with the regionally designed Finger Lakes Forward economic development plan in mind.

With a central location near an extensive transportation network and its proximity to popular tourist destinations, this site presents a unique opportunity for development in the Finger Lakes region,” said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “We look forward to reviewing proposals that create new jobs and stimulate local economic growth.

The site, located at 14001 Westbury Cutoff Road, is an almost 200-acre campus spanning the towns of Wolcott and Butler in Wayne County. The site comprises two adjacent correctional facility complexes that are distinguishable and possibly severable. A 50-acre minimum-security complex, located in the southern portion of the site, opened in 1989, and a 101-acre medium-security complex, located in the northern portion of the site, opened in 1990.

Both complexes include barracks-style housing units, gymnasiums, recreation and athletic fields, dining halls and industrial style kitchens, administrative and visitors’ buildings, parking lots, and storage and maintenance facilities. A paved road circumnavigates both complexes. A vacant 45-acre parcel is located adjacent to the two correctional facility complexes. Respondents to the RFP can submit proposals for A) the 50-acre minimum security facility, B) the 101-acre medium security facility or C) both facilities. Respondents can also add the adjacent 45-acre parcel to either proposal.

The Towns of Butler and Wolcott sit on the northern end of New York’s Finger Lakes region, 10 miles south of Lake Ontario. The pristine Finger Lakes are within a day’s travel distance of ten of the largest cities in North America and are home to more than 100 wineries, making it a popular tourist destination. The region also has a wealth of academic and research institutions, an extensive transportation network, numerous industrial parks, advanced research and development facilities, a highly educated and productive workforce, and advanced health care systems. Land uses around the site are primarily residential and agricultural, with ancillary agricultural uses along the main roads such as propane distribution businesses and agricultural supply stores.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Overall conceptual design and program of uses;
  • Direct economic benefits of the project;
  • Competitiveness of the proposed financial terms and financial benefits to New York State, as well as the financial feasibility of the project;
  • Experience, financial capabilities and qualifications of the respondent in developing and financing projects of similar size and/or nature;
  • Project design and timing, including proposed project development and construction plan; innovative technical solutions; and incorporation of sustainable building practices;
  • Direct benefits to the community, including job creation and economic impacts;
  • Inclusion of certified Minority- or Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) or Service-Disabled Veteran-owned Business Enterprises (SDVOBs).

While not directly linked to this RFP, the State has available Economic Transformation Program (EPT) grants of up to $5.5 million to fund projects on the site and within 15 miles of the site. Preference in the award of ETP grants is given to projects that create or retain jobs; prevent, reduce or eliminate unemployment or underemployment; and/or increase business activity. Applications for ETP grants and any resulting awards are separate from this RFP.

This RFP complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive revitalization blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs.

Responses are due by 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 9, 2018.
An optional site visit is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Respondents are not required to attend; however, if they wish to participate, they must RSVP to BUTLERRFP@esd.ny.gov.

See complete RFP and additional information.

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