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Developers Can Now Bid To Convert Chelsea's Former Prison

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Developers, start your engines. It's officially time for you to descend, all vulture-like, upon the former prison at 550 West 20th Street. Until mid-February, the Empire State Development Corporation is accepting proposals for how to remake the Bayview Correctional Facility, a women's prison on Eleventh Avenue that shuttered in 2012 after inmates were evacuated pre-Sandy and the building flooded. Located in prime starchitect territory, near Jean Nouvel's 100 Eleventh Avenue and its converted neighbor, among others, developers have apparently been chomping at the bit since the prison's redevelopment became a possibility last year. Among those considering a bid are Miami-based Don Peebles and the Steinway & Sons piano company, which has been kicked out of its 57th Street location.

Unfortunately for many developers, the prison is not being considered for residential use. Instead, the state will entertain bids for offices, an educational facility, and community space. Ah, those waterfront views! That, and the site's proximity to West Chelsea's residential construction boom, must be killing those profiteers who were angling for condos or a hotel—which would also allow the building to fetch a much higher price. But the state decided to eliminate that possibility in order "to focus on promoting job growth and accommodating the desires of neighborhood residents." Is that another way of saying preservationists and NIMBYs have won out—so far—in this fight against luxury condos? Officials will select a winner in the spring.
· Former Prison in Manhattan Could Be Tough Sell [WSJ]
· What Will Happen to Chelsea's Empty Prison Building? [Curbed]