Long-term REVITALIZATION readers probably remember Governor Kathy Hochul‘s visionary efforts to reimagine closed prisons for innovative redevelopment opportunities across the state of New York.
Recently (as you’ve seen here), New York has announced Requests For Proposals (RFP) to redevelop two former correctional facilities: Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem and Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill.
Now, on September 26, 2023, another such RFP was issued, this time to redevelop the former Bayview Correctional Facility, located at 550 West 20th Street in West Chelsea, Manhattan, New York. This is directly across from the repurposed and revitalized Chelsea Piers.
The goal is to help revitalize the neighborhood by transforming the facility into a primarily residential development providing supportive housing, affordable housing, and onsite community uses that will benefit area residents and reintegrate the structure into the surrounding neighborhood.
“By reimagining the Bayview facility as affordable housing, we are not only creating more housing options for New Yorkers – we are expanding the possibilities of what former prisons and other unused state properties can become,” Governor Hochul said.
“New York’s future depends on increasing the state’s housing supply, and between the recommendations of the Prison Redevelopment Commission and executive actions I announced earlier this year, our state is taking leaps forward to repurpose these vacant facilities and leverage them as critical tools to address the housing crisis,” she added.
The state-owned 100,000 square-foot site is an opportunity to aggressively advance Governor Hochul’s unprecedented efforts to increase the state’s housing supply, particularly in New York City.
Built in 1931, the art deco brick masonry building became a state-run medium-security women’s correctional facility in 1974, that was eventually closed due to flooding sustained during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Recognizing that the West Chelsea neighborhood has a critical shortage of affordable housing options, the redevelopment of Bayview will be a key catalyst for inclusive and sustainable urban development, provide much needed housing for New Yorkers who require services within a supportive living environment, and enhance neighborhood vibrancy and quality of life for residents in the surrounding area.
The primary development objectives for the Project are to provide affordable and supportive housing in partnership with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), to provide Short Term Transitional Housing in partnership with the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), and to improve the wellness and economic opportunities in the neighborhood.
The RFP requires respondents to consider the site’s historic art-deco design and the neighborhood’s character and include an onsite community use facility that supports the needs of the surrounding neighborhood, both of which are consistent with Manhattan Community Board 4’s Bayview redevelopment plan.
Specifically, proposals should meet the following objectives:
- Benefit the West Chelsea neighborhood and surrounding communities including benefit to low- and moderate-income individuals and families and chronically homeless populations.
- Provide permanent low-income affordable housing and at least 60 units of supportive housing targeting families and individuals who are both homeless and who are identified as having unmet housing needs, as specified in the RFP.
- Provide community facility use.
- Provide for adaptive reuse of the historic building and features to the extent feasible.
- Provide in-kind replacement of the historic façade to the extent feasible; if determined not feasible, provide replacement with compatible substitute material, as determined in consultation with New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.
- Comply with all OPRHP requirements.
- Incorporate sustainable and resilient building practices in accordance with the goals of the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
- Ensure meaningful participation by Minority Owned Business Enterprises, Women Owned Business Enterprises and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned-Business.
- Ensure at least 51 percent Nonprofit Ownership, as compliant with HCR’s SHOP Term Sheet.
- Ensure greater Nonprofit Ownership by incentivizing greater ownership percentages.
The redevelopment of Bayview Correctional Facility complements Governor Hochul’s comprehensive agenda to address New York’s housing crisis. In July 2023, Governor Hochul announced a package of executive actions to promote housing growth across the state, including a directive calling on New York State agencies to review state-owned properties for potential housing opportunities.
As part of the FY 2024 Budget, the Governor secured a $391 million investment in rental assistance to expand New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a $50 million investment for tenant legal services, and additional funding to expand the Tenant Protection Unit. Governor Hochul also secured a 5-year, $25 billion Housing Plan to build 100,000 affordable homes as part of the FY 2023 Budget.
In December 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.
Local and state leaders were unanimous in their praise for this revitalizing project:
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The Bayview Correctional Center’s redevelopment offers a unique, forward-thinking opportunity to address New York’s long-term economic and housing priorities. Inspired by Governor Hochul’s unwavering commitment to enhance affordability in New York, this RFP aims to maximize the creation of both affordable and supportive housing, and address real needs expressed by the community.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The 100,000-square-foot Bayview Correctional Facility offers a rare opportunity to bring permanently affordable and supportive housing with community amenities to Manhattan’s West Chelsea neighborhood. Governor Hochul’s plan to make underutilized state-owned property available for residential development is just part of her comprehensive strategy to address New York’s historic housing shortage while building more diverse and inclusive neighborhoods, and ultimately, a more affordable and equitable state for all.”
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan, M.D. said, “The redevelopment of the former Bayview Correctional Facility will include a Short-Term Transitional Residence program funded by OMH that will provide formerly homeless individuals with a comfortable, safe, and recovery-oriented environment. Residents will receive the services they need, as well as the skills required to live independently and transition into permanent housing with support services. Once again, I applaud Governor Hochul’s commitment to ensuring that people living with mental illness have the opportunity to live productively and independently in their own community.”
Representative Jerry Nadler said, “New Yorkers are facing an affordable housing crisis, and the transformation of Bayview Correctional will deliver much needed housing supply and supportive resources to West Chelsea. I’m pleased Governor Hochul’s request incorporates Community Board 4’s plan by including a community center to meet the social and mental health needs of the neighborhood and look forward to our continued partnership as we work to expand affordable housing in NYC.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “I’m thrilled that the former Bayview Correctional Facility in West Chelsea will be redeveloped by the State to provide 100% affordable and supportive housing, which we all know is desperately needed in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in our city. I look forward to working with Community Board 4, Empire State Development, the developer and other stakeholders to help bring the housing to fruition, while ensuring historic preservation and community access remain priorities. I’m extremely grateful to Governor Hochul, state officials and CB 4 for closely collaborating on this exciting proposal.”
Assemblymember Tony Simone said, “Housing must be New York’s top priority. I’m thankful to Governor Hochul and Empire State Development for moving forward on bringing new low income housing and desperately needed services for those experiencing mental illness to the former Bayview Correctional Facility. The State has worked admirably with the local community to ensure this project will meet pressing needs while preserving a historical asset in Chelsea.”
Councilmember Erik Bottcher said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul and ESD for working closely with Community Board 4 to create this desperately needed affordable housing in west Chelsea. It is fitting that this state owned site should be utilized to address New York’s greatest need. I look forward to working with all stakeholders in the months ahead to make this project the best it can be.”
Manhattan Community Board 4 Chair Jeffrey LeFrancois said, “The repositioning of the Bayview Women’s Prison into a supportive housing and mental health services provider is a huge victory for the west side of Manhattan, and the state of New York. Manhattan Community Board 4 is pleased to see this RFP now public after months of productive work with our partners at Empire State Development and all the State agencies that contributed expertise to this unique project. The housing crisis affects every corner of society, and this project will begin to address the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors, bringing supportive housing and services to one site — and the community is honored to be home to this facility.”
Proposals are due December 13, 2023 by 5 pm ET.
Photo courtesy of Empire State Development.