Developers circle like “vultures” over Chelsea women’s prison

August 20, 2013 03:30PM

Bayview Correctional Facility, a women’s prison that has been operational since 1974, will be officially shuttered as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2013-14 state budget.

The facility, located at 550 West 20th Street, was abandoned before Hurricane Sandy and suffered fourteen feet of water that destroyed boilers, corroded electric equipment and racked up a bill for more than $600,000 in repairs, will now be sold or leased by the state.

In an effort to stave off demolition, the local community board sent a letter to state officials expressing a desire for historic preservation, affordable housing and community access to the building’s pool and gym.

“Developers are circling the skies like vultures,” said Joe Restuccia, the housing committee chairman on the local community board, who says real estate company representatives have contacted him about the building. “They look at this not as any sort of public resource, but a piece of property and that’s it. It’s just the next available site.”

The Empire State Development Corporation, responsible for overseeing what becomes of the building, has made no decision yet about its fate.

“We’re on a listening tour, engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the community, elected officials and other stakeholders,” Cassie Harvey, spokeswoman for the agency, told the Times. “We’ve asked for their feedback and advice and are taking the time to understand what their priorities are, what their concerns are, and the various reuse possibilities they have in mind.”

Whatever becomes of the site, it will be in chic company. The Jean Nouvel-designed luxury condominiums at 100 11th Avenue Are Just Across The Street[NYT]Julie Strickland