City to shutter House of D by January: reports

The shuttered House of Detention has been floated as one location to increase hospital bed capacity.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

The city is reportedly gearing up to shut down the Brooklyn House of Detention early next year to pave the way for an expansion of the Boerum Hill holding facility.

Officials want to move inmates and corrections staff out of the Atlantic Avenue jail by the end of January 2020 as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $8.7 billion plan to close the beleaguered Rikers Island jail complex and build four borough-based facilities, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

The building’s roughly 400 occupants will be moved to other borough facilities —unless they have specific needs that can only be met at Rikers — and the 535 Department of Corrections staff will be reassigned,  agency spokeswoman Latima Johnson said in an email. 

The department decided to close the facility because of the lack of air conditioning and programming space, according to Johnson. 

The city’s Department of Design and Construction on Thursday issued a request for qualification, kicking off a bidding process to select contractors to demolish the 62-year-old jailhouse between Smith Street and Boerum Place.

Officials will close the Rikers Island lockup known as the Eric M. Taylor Center — which houses some 850 of the jail complex’s 7,000 inmates — in March.

The city previously closed down the George Motchan Detention Center on the island last year.

De Blasio’s plan, which City Council approved in October, aims to close the Rikers Island jail complex by 2026 and move its inmates to smaller facilities sited for all boroughs except Staten Island.

The city plans to raze the House of Detention and erect a 29-story, 295-foot, 886-bed jail facility, replacing the current 11-story 170-foot building housing 815 beds.

That building is the first of the four existing borough jails to be closed down. 

Corrections staff union leaders in August claimed that inmates would move out of the facility to Rikers by the end of the year — months before the plan’s land use application was approved — but agency officials subsequently denied those reports.