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Developers to Bid on Former Women's Prison in Chelsea

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TWC News: Developers to Bid on Former Women's Prison in Chelsea
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It's no secret that Manhattan real estate is some of the most valuable in the world. Now, developers are lining up to get the chance to bid on the latest hot spot, and it's not your typical open space. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

The former Bay View Correctional Facility sits right next to the West Side Highway. For decades, up until October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit, it was a medium security women's prison. When the storm rolled on shore, the state Corrections Department evacuated the prison. All 160 prisoners were sent elsewhere.

"Basically, the determination was made to evacuate for staff safety and prisoner safety," said Tobe Corcoran, assistant commissioner of the state Department of Corrections.

But the prisoners never came back. The female prison population in New York State is down nearly 35 percent over the last 15 years, and Bay View is no longer needed, so the historic building that had also been a maritime hotel and YMCA faces another transformation.

"Opportunities here are really tremendous, by just the nature of the site, its location, its market value," said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development.

Empire State Development, a state agency, is now requesting proposals from developers to take the art-deco building and turn it into something new, but not housing.

"Look for a solution that includes jobs and business activity, economic development results, balanced against the community needs for a community facility, some public community space and historic preservation," Adams said.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference about what this place was and what it will become can be found on the roof. The caged-in exercise yards have incredible views of the Hudson and the city skyline. Remove the cages, and the state thinks the building could be an attractive site for developers.

So how much is it all worth? All the state will say is "many millions."

"It is definitely one of the most valuable sites that the state has, that ESD has, and that we're currently trying to redevelop," Adams said. "By its location here in Manhattan, here in West Chelsea, it's incredibly valuable."

So far, roughly 20 different development groups have toured the property. All proposals are due by February 12. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP