Brooklyn's House of Detention has long been an eyesore, but the red-hot housing market may change its setting into a lively place, with apartments, hotels or offices on both sides, and retail below. The market will help determine the uses.
"Turning the jail, which opened in 1956, into a mixed-use complex would fill a gap that 'still destroys the tapestry of Atlantic Avenue and really separates it from east to west,' said Mr. Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president. 'If we built bookend buildings, we could almost mask the House of Detention,' he added."
"The city is seeking a developer interested in supervising the expansion and renovation of the jail and in owning the retail space on the street level of the complex, as well as the new residential or commercial buildings."
"Diagrams in city documents suggest that one or two buildings, each 10 to 15 stories tall, could abut the jail, which closed in 2003. (The Correction Department plans to nearly double the jail's capacity of 760 beds). City officials will decide whether those buildings would contain apartments, hotel rooms or offices after fielding responses from developers over the next 10 weeks."
"'There's no preference for residential, but we certainly wanted to test the market to see what the developers thought,' said Jennifer K. Friedman, a vice president in the city's Economic Development Corporation, which is soliciting the responses."
"Robert Maruca, a deputy correction commissioner, said he understood that there might be trepidation about having inmates on the other side of one's bedroom wall. Others believe that people are so hungry for living space in Downtown Brooklyn that they would be willing to rent or buy homes right next to the jail."