Borough-Based Jails program begins major construction activities

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queen jail site rendering
Rendering of the Queens jail site

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the beginning of construction activities on the parking garage and community space alongside a new jail in Kew Gardens.

The construction marks the first major activity in the Borough-Based Jails Program, a $8.3 billion effort to construct four new, smaller, and more humane jails in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, to replace the jails on Rikers Island.

The garage and community space will be constructed at the program’s Queens site, adjacent to Queens Borough Hall and the Queens Criminal Courthouse that make up the heart of the borough’s civic center. The new, approximately 105-foot tall structure will include a 25,000-square-foot, two-level, flexible, multi-purpose community space, plus more than 600 public parking spots.

The structure is being built on the west side of an existing parking lot at Union Turnpike between 126th St. and 132nd St. The east side of the parking lot will remain open during construction, providing 140 parking spots to the community until work is complete in early-2023. The adjacent Queens Detention Complex will begin demolition during the garage construction and then the new Queens jail will be built spanning the east side of the parking lot and the former Queens Detention Complex site.

The parking garage and community space will include a partial planted green roof, solar panels and on-site stormwater retention. As a result, the community space portion of the project is expected to qualify for LEED Gold certification for environmental sustainability. The project may also be the first in the City to qualify for Parksmart certification, the only certification program that recognizes high-performing, sustainable garages.

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is managing the overall Borough-Based Jails program citywide. The 886-bed Queens jail will be designed with a maximum height of 195 feet and will house female detainees in a separate facility within the jail.

The design of the new Parking Garage and Community Space follows an extensive and multi-step public review process, including design workshops in each of the four boroughs with local neighborhood leaders, civic associations and community boards to identify preferred design elements including the use of community space, and workshops in each of the four boroughs with advocates and justice involved individuals to provide input on the design of the new facilities.

The Queens Parking Garage and Community Space is being created by the design-build team of Hunter Roberts Construction Group along with the architecture firms Marvel and Urbahn Architects.

bronx jail site
Bronx jail site rendering

Procurement and early site preparation activities are ongoing for the other three Borough-Based Jails sites in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Later this year, DDC expects to award a contract to dismantle the Brooklyn House of Detention and construct a temporary swing space to facilitate the DOC’s transfers for court appearances until construction of a new jail at the site is complete.

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