Government briefs

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The New York State Pavilion
The New York State Pavilion

Queens Beep backs preserving NYS Pavilion

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has joined the effort to save the New York State Pavilion. In February, just months before the pavilion’s 50th anniversary, Katz vowed support for the building’s preservation, alongside the activist group People for the Pavilion, and announced plans to assemble a task force to bring civic leaders and officials together to work on ways to save the “Tent of Tomorrow” and the iconic towers alongside it. Salmaan Khan, a representative of the People for the Pavilion told The Real Deal, “This was the first time we heard a solid vow of support for the structure from political leadership, and her support is critical to the success of this cause.” Designed by architect Philip Johnson, the historic pavilion was erected in 1964 for the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It was later used as a roller skating rink, but in recent years it has fallen into disuse and disrepair. The Parks Department estimated that demolition would cost the city $14 million, while full restoration could run the price tag up to $50 million.

Psych ward to become affordable housing

An affordable housing complex is slated to replace the former psychiatric ward at Kings County Hospital in Crown Heights. The project is headed by CAMBA, the Brooklyn-based nonprofit developer responsible for CAMBA Gardens, a housing complex that is converting another vacant building at the hospital. The replacement for the psych ward is the second phase of this development, and will include 293 units encompassing 97,000 square feet. Lead architect John Woelfling of Dattner Architects said they considered converting the existing building, but the floor plan was not appropriate for adapting it. The project is slated to finish in 2016.

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State to sell women’s prison in Chelsea

The state is moving forward with plans to sell the Bayview Correctional Facility in Chelsea to developers. State officials expressed hopes to find a project that will stimulate job growth in the community, despite interest from developers who want to turn the 108,000 square feet of space into luxury condominiums, and Community Board 4’s hopes to convert the former medium-security prison into affordable housing units. The facility, which is next door to a Jean Nouvel–designed high rise, hasn’t housed any inmates since they were evacuated shortly before Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The storm sent water from the Hudson River rushing in, damaging electrical equipment and destroying boilers. The deal is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to sell several state prisons. Officials are slated to select a developer this spring.

BID plan would join Chelsea, Meatpacking District

A proposed business improvement district that would merge the Meatpacking District Improvement Association and the Chelsea Improvement Company aims to beautify and enhance public safety in the areas bordered by Horatio Street and West 17th Street, from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River. If the BID is approved, commercial property owners will be required to pay 21.5 cents per square foot each year to contribute to the $1.6 million-a-year plan, DNAinfo reported. The BID would be comprised of property owners and tenants, as well as public officials. New York City currently has 68 BIDs, the most comprehensive network of such organizations in the nation.