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Mayor Plans to Redevelop the Queens Detention Complex in Kew Gardens, House 1,500 Inmates

(Image: Office of the Mayor)

Aug. 15, 2018 By Tara Law

The mayor’s office has released the first details about plans for four borough-based jails, which includes the redevelopment and expansion of the former Queens Detention Complex in Kew Gardens.

The overhaul would significantly expand the size of the facility at 126-01 82nd Ave., which closed in 2002. The existing building is 497,600 square feet and housed about 500 inmates; the new facility would be 1,910,000 square feet and house 1,510 inmates.

The jail reopening is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to close the troubled Rikers Island jail facility and shift the city’s jail inmates to smaller jail facilities. The mayor’s office plans for the four facilities to offer 6,040 beds, which would accommodate the roughly 5,000 people in detention daily.

The three jails in the other boroughs will be entirely new. The Mayor’s office says that it is considering constructing these facilities at 275 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn; 80 Centre Street in Manhattan; and at 320 Concord Ave. in the Bronx.

“We’re taking a big step forward in the process of closing Rikers Island and creating a modern community-based jail system that is smaller, safer and fairer,” de Blasio said today. “Now we can move full steam ahead on the engagement and planning for our new facilities so we can close Rikers as fast as possible.”

The mayor’s office says that the smaller facilities would be safer and enable inmates to maintain contact with their families and communities, and to have better access to their legal representatives and the court system. The new facilities would also give inmates increased access to rehabilitative and reentry services, as well as to more sunlight and outdoor space.

The Kew Gardens facility would also offer a centralized care area for inmates with an infirmary and a maternity ward.

The new development would offer parking for visitors to the jail and for the general public. A total of 429 parking spaces would be available within the detention facility, and the public would have access to an adjacent above-ground parking lot with 676 public spaces at the northwest of the property. 

A community space would also be constructed along 126th Street, the mayor’s office said.

The city has not yet an anticipated a completion date or an estimate of the length of the construction period, but it would need to seek zoning changes in order to expand the existing facility.

(Image: Office of the Mayor)

The mayor’s office said that the city would need to make an amendment to the zoning text to modify the “requirements for bulk” such as the floor area, height and setback, as well as the parking requirement. The city would seek a special permit to de-map 82nd Ave. between 126th Street and 132nd Street.

The plans for opening the facility have provoked controversy in the community since the mayor first announced that he was considering reopening the facility this fall. 

Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, who had previously expressed concerns about the project, released a statement in support of the proposal in February. 

In February, Koslowitz’s special advisor Howard Pollack said that her support of the jail is contingent upon the city closing the homeless shelter housed inside a Comfort Inn at 123-28 82nd Ave.

In her statement today, Koslowitz said that the facility could have a positive impact on the surrounding community.

“Closing Rikers Island and opening community based facilities is not only beneficial for New York City’s corrections officers and incarcerated population, but also beneficial for the Kew Gardens community,” Koslowitz said. “The new facility in Kew Gardens will bring significant economic development, and provide hundreds of new parking spaces for the community. I look forward to taking the next steps in opening community based facilities.”

(Image: Office of the Mayor)

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Rosita Chiu

Douche bag mayor, bring inmates to your house not our neighboorhood. Placed the money to a school, orphanage ,senior center,nt spend it on jail or inmate!! They supposed to have bad time so they think rwice before they do bad things to people.

Andy Cameron

If our elected officials had any guts and actually cared about the community of Kew and FH, they would say NO to both the jail AND the shelter! Since when did Kew Gardens become a dumping ground?? I thought Councilmember Karen Koslowitz had more integrity than to back up a corrupt mayor. I wonder what their end cut in this deal is!!

The Filth of Forest Hills

Since this “neighborhood jail” is a very negative thing for a community, it amazes me that so many people have given a thumbs down to the comments here, all comments which are spot on as far as the negative impact this totally careless decision will make on this community. I mean why would you think such a bad concept by an irresponsible, questionable and corrupt mayor would be great. Probably because the thumbs down of the comments are by the elected hacks and their staff, especially Koslowitz who has given this BAD decision a big thumbs up. BOTTOM line, this benefits NO ONE, not matter how much the hacks spin this. Instead of improving the conditions of Riker’s Island for a much lower cost, the powers that be decided to spend billions to put in these jails in communities which then will have a major negative impact. ALL in the name of making Riker’s Island prime real estate to developers for all of deBlasio’s rich elitist donors, which disguising this as “prison reform”. RIGHT.

The Filth of Forest Hills

Hello People who care about their community of Forest Hills & Kew Gardens and who do not want to see it decline as we have seen what happened when the Comfort Inn was turned into a men’s homeless shelter litter, panhandling, drinking & drug use out in public in broad daylight, public defecation and an increase in crime in the area).

WELL, get ready for MORE CRAP ON STEROIDS and a BIG DECLINE IN QUALITY OF LIFE in our community with this latest SNAFU from our mayor whose goal is to destroy each neighborhood one by one. And this would be right near the already problematic Comfort Inn homeless shelter.

ur HACK ELECTED OFFICIAL, Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, whose district includes the Queens Detention Complex and municipal parking lot (where the jail will be placed), touted the plan as a potential gain for the community.”Closing Rikers Island and opening community-based facilities is not only beneficial for New York City’s corrections officers and incarcerated population, but also beneficial for the Kew Gardens community,” she said. “The new facility in Kew Gardens will bring significant economic development and provide hundreds of new parking spaces for the community.”

EXPLAIN, how this will bring economic development and provide parking
spaces for our community. We have already seen the crap that the homeless shelter here has brought. NOW picture all that CRAP on steroids. MORE LITTER, MORE PROBLEMATIC PEOPLE HANGING AROUND OUR COMMUNITY, MORE LOITERING, MORE TRAFFIC/CONGESTION, and MORE CRIME. YOU CAN COUNT ON IT.

So remember Koslowitz’s word come election time.

In the meantime, take a look at what is happening to our community with the homeless shelter –

AND f you would prefer NOT to have this facility in our neighborhood, where IT DOES NOT BELONG, you can voice your opinion at a hearing to be held regarding this proposal on:

September 26, 2018, at 6:00 PM Queens Borough Hall,

120-55 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, NY 11424.

The Solution

Then stop paying taxes. Isn’t that how a free country works? If you’re not getting the right service at the right price then take your money elsewhere!

New Yorker

“enable inmates to maintain contact with their families and communities…” “…as well as to more sunlight and outdoor space”

Lets create country clubs and reward these inmates. Murder? Rape? Assault with a deadly weapon? Child Molester? NO PROBLEM!! Lets give you fresh air and allow you to be near your family and friends!

He shows more respect for inmates than the very law enforcement that protects this city and his stupid ass on a daily basis.

William Stebner

Bringing inmates to a community is great for the community????? How is that possible???

On tired person

Get rid of this mayor! He consistently creates chaos in our neighborhoods. He should have a room in the facilty permanently. As a tax payer, I am really tired of his abuses of our neighborhoods.


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