The city's projection of what a new jail in Queens would look like.

City moves ahead on borough jails plan

The city agency charged with leading the design and construction of four borough jails, including one on the site of an NYPD tow pound in Mott Haven, has announced that each facility will house 886 beds and cost between $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion.

The four jails will replace Rikers island, which currently houses about 5,700 incarcerated people, requiring the city to reduce the prison population by more than 2,000 by 2027, when the jails are expected to open.

The NYC Department of Design and Construction shared the information in a Notice of Intent on August 26. It lays out the basic details of the project and includes the next steps for design and construction for companies interested in pursuing the project.

The Borough-Based Jails program calls for new facilities in The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, with the goal of placing incarcerated people closer to their communities and closing the oft-controversial jails on Rikers.

“This is an important step in designing and building what we expect to be the safest, most-humane jails in the nation,” said Corrections Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi in a statement. Schiraldi added that the program will emphasize good relations with the neighborhoods that house the jails, leading to smoother reentry of incarcerated people to their home communities.

Later this month, the city will request that all interested design and construction firms submit a statement of their qualifications. The agency will select a few firms to submit formal proposals, then choose the winning bid by late 2022.

The proposal process will differ from past projects, as the city will use a new Guaranteed Maximum Price policy, requiring firms to cover any costs above the predetermined price.

Public Buildings Deputy Commissioner Thomas Foley said in a statement that the policy would protect the city from any unexpected cost overruns on the complex projects.

The proposed location of the new Bronx jail at 320 Concord Ave. in Mott Haven, just west of the Bruckner Expressway, remains controversial for some Mott Haven residents. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has proposed relocating the jail site to a location near the courthouse on E. 161st Street, but his effort has yet to produce concrete results.

The project is fully funded and on track for completion in 2027, according to the Notice of Intent.