The Real Deal New York

Wanted: State searching for developers for Chelsea prison

January 29, 2014 12:20PM

The state is seeking developers for Bayview Correctional Facility, a former women’s prison located at West 20th Street and 11th Avenue in Chelsea that was officially shuttered back in August.

Developers have previously expressed interest in turning the site into luxury condominiums or even a hotel, but but state officials aren’t interested in residential uses. Instead, they want a project that would stimulate job growth in the neighborhood. Some developers, however, are skeptical about converting the property, at 550 West 20th Street, into office space, citing its low ceilings, tiny windows and small floor plates.

“Because of its limiting factors, there’s only so far you can go,” real estate investor Don Peebles, who is involved in several public-private partnerships, told the Wall Street Journal.

“The state’s going to leave a significant amount of money on the table by dictating the use,” Dan Fasulo, a managing director at Real Capital Analytics, told the newspaper.

But Kenneth Adams, president of the Empire State Development Corporation said that the industrial building was ripe for office conversion, especially by technology companies, and pointed to Google’s $1.9 billion purchase of 111 Eighth Avenue in 2010.

“For high tech companies, for media companies, a building like this could lend itself to that,” Adams told the newspaper.

The state issued the request for proposals last month, and the deadline for submissions is the middle of February, with officials slated to choose a developer in the spring. [WSJ] –  Hiten Samtani