New York State Issues RFP for Purchase and Redevelopment of Downstate Correctional Facility
John Jordan | July 26, 2023
ALBANY—Gov. Kathy Hochul announced recently that Empire State Development, in partnership with the Office of General Services and Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, has issued a Request for Proposals for the former Downstate Correctional Facility located in Fishkill, Dutchess County.
The Request for Proposals advances recommendations made by the Prison Redevelopment Commission and builds on first-in-the-nation strategic efforts to reimagine former prison sites from an economic development focus as prison populations shrink and prisons close. The Request for Proposals is also a part of the governor’s ongoing effort to identify state-owned sites for potential residential uses to increase the state’s housing supply in light of the housing crisis.
“The formation of the Prison Redevelopment Commission, announced nearly one year ago, was the first comprehensive analysis in the United States for the reuse and redevelopment of New York’s closed facilities,” Gov. Hochul said. “The commission compiled thoughtful, realistic information and recommendations that considered input from both experts and community stakeholders, and we are hitting the ground running and taking major steps to move these recommendations forward in ways that will give impacted communities a voice on the future of these closed sites.”
The primary development objective for the redevelopment of the Downstate Correctional Facility is to maximize benefits to the surrounding community and region while prioritizing housing. Following the governor’s directive and in accordance with recommendations from the Unlocking Opportunity report, the RFP places a strong emphasis on housing in a mix of unit sizes and affordability ranges and makes up to $8 million in incentives available to eligible respondents to address remediation and demolition costs.
The RFP states, “The primary development objectives for the project are to maximize benefits to the surrounding community and generate the highest economic return for the state. These benefits may include housing, commercial activity, and job creation. When proposing mixed-use development with contextual multifamily housing serving a range of income levels, market rate units should cross subsidize affordable housing units.”
The former maximum-security site at 121 Red Schoolhouse Road covers approximately 80 acres of land, 50 of which are within the perimeter security and 30 of which are outside. There are 34 buildings on the property, totaling 558,000 square feet. The site is located in the Town of Fishkill and is adjacent to the City of Beacon. It is approximately 70 miles north of New York City and approximately 95 miles south of Albany.
Fishkill, positioned along the Hudson River, is primarily composed of residential neighborhoods but has several commercial hubs. The town has also seen a surge in technology and advanced manufacturing companies in recent years. GlobalFoundries, a multinational semiconductor manufacturing and design company, opened a facility in a former IBM office in East Fishkill in 2015. In addition, Dutchess Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 4,500 and is home to the Hudson Valley Renegades minor league baseball team, is in West Fishkill, just a mile southwest of the site.
The site is also proximate to several higher education institutions, including SUNY Orange, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Ulster, Vassar College, Dutchess Community College, the Culinary Institute of America, and United States Military Academy (West Point).
Proposals must be received by ESD via DropBox by Aug. 23, 2023, at 2 p.m. Potential Respondents may also attend a site tour that is anticipated to be scheduled on or around Aug. 2, 2023. Please RSVP to DownstateCFacilityRFP23@esd.ny.gov by July 31, 2023, at 5 p.m.
The governor also announced that Empire State Development has secured necessary approvals for the transfer of Livingston Correctional Facility to the Livingston County Industrial Development Agency, advancing another key recommendation from the Prison Redevelopment Commission’s 2022 Unlocking Opportunity report.