City proposes four jail sites with community amenities as Rikers replacement

Posted On Wed, August 15, 2018 By

Posted On Wed, August 15, 2018 By In Policy

Image of Rikers Island via Wikimedia

Four new borough-based jails have been proposed for New York City as part of a plan to close Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. The proposed facilities, which include building sites in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, will contain about 1,500 beds each and offer on-site support services. The new jails would include space for educational programming, recreation, therapeutic services and staff parking. There will also be community facilities and street-level retail space, providing amenities to the surrounding neighborhood.

The de Blasio administration first announced a 10-year plan to close Rikers Island in 2017, with an initial goal of reducing the jail population at Rikers to 5,000 and transitioning this population to local jails.

“These new jails will enable this city to close Rikers Island, which I know will help make this city a better place,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “The new facilities are designed to be safer for both the people incarcerated as well as the staff.”

Each of the proposed locations is owned by the city, but still subject to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedures (ULURP) and other zoning approvals. In total, the proposed project would provide roughly 6,000 beds to accommodate an average daily population of 5,000 people.

Rendering via de Blasio’s office

Photo of 320 Concord Avenue via de Blasio’s office

Located at 320 Concord Avenue, the Bronx site, currently used as an NYPD tow pound, is in the Mott Haven neighborhood. The site does not sit next to a courthouse, so the city is proposing adding space for booking and processing, pre-arraignment holding cells and arraignment courtrooms.

Rendering via de Blasio’s office

Photo of 275 Atlantic Avenue via de Blasio’s office

In Downtown Brooklyn, a jail is proposed for 275 Atlantic Avenue and would occupy an entire block. A tunnel below State Street connects the site to the Brooklyn Central Courts Building at 120 Schermerhorn Street. The plan would replace the site’s existing Brooklyn Detention Center, which was built in 1957 and has 815 beds, and make space for 1,510 beds for people in detention, support space, retail space and 277 parking spaces.

Rendering via de Blasio’s office

80 Centre Street via Wikimedia

The city is proposing to redevelop the office building at 80 Centre Street in the Financial District, currently Manhattan’s marriage bureau building, as a new jail. The site could hold 125 parking spaces and a community space along Worth and Baxter Streets. Pedestrian bridges over Hogan Place have been proposed to make the existing court facilities accessible.

Rendering via de Blasio’s office

Photo of 126-02 82nd Avenue via de Blasio’s office

And the fourth site is planned at 126-02 82nd Avenue and 80-25 126th Street in Kew Gardens. The site was once home to the Queens Detention Complex, which closed 15 years ago and once housed more than 450 prisoners. It is now used to shoot television shows and film, including Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” The new jail would hold 439 staff parking spaces and an above-ground parking for 676 public spaces.

The city tapped Perkins Eastman in January to study where to build the jails and proposed new locations for new jails and ways to modernize the buildings to better integrate them with the surrounding communities.


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