The idea of closing Rikers Island Correctional Facility has been around, according to the city’s former probations and corrections commissioner Martin Horn, since at least Mayor Ed Koch’s term in the 1970s. But New York City has come a long way since then, firmly populating itself with some of the world’s most prized, and valuable, real estate. The argument to shutter the facility remains today, but Politico points out that while the charge is lead by a human rights interest, it’s also bolstered by a real estate one.
A number of major New York City real estate players are eyeing the island. John Kriegel, a Related exec, is said to “be fascinated by the idea” while Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin is leading a committee that’s reimagining the island’s use. The study from Gilmartin’s committee will be made public some time next year.
When it comes to redeveloping the island, two main trains of thought emerge: connecting the island to LaGuardia Airport, which stands just across the channel, to provide additional runway space, or creating a new mega development.