Credit: NYC Department of Design and Construction image

Construction activities started last week on the parking garage and community space alongside a new jail in Kew Gardens, Queens. The construction marks the first major activity in the Borough-Based Jails Program, a $8.3 billion effort to construct four new, smaller, and more humane jails in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, to replace the jails on Rikers Island.

Passed by the City Council in October 2019, the city’s plan to close the jails on Rikers Island and build smaller, safer and fairer borough-based jail facilities comes at a time when New York City has the lowest crime and incarceration rates of any large city in the United States. The NYC Department of Design and Construction is managing the overall Borough-Based Jails Program citywide.

The garage and community space will be constructed at the program’s Queens site, adjacent to Queens Borough Hall and the Queens Criminal Courthouse that make up the heart of the borough’s civic center. The new, approximately 105-foot tall structure will include a 25,000-square-foot, two-level, flexible, multi-purpose community space, plus more than 600 public parking spots.