The Bayview Correctional Facility at 550 West 20th Street, slated to be closed for the past two years, finally has been locked-down and excluded form the state budget for 2013-2014, Severely damaged by Sandy, the 1930s Art Deco women’s prison was evacuated and formally closed soon thereafter. Developers would love nothing more than to convert the brick fortress with all of its development rights into $2,500/SF luxury condos with sweeping river views, but Community Board 4 has other ideas. Like many of the buildings in the core gallery M1-5 zones of West Chelsea, it is a unique structure with a unique history, designed by the same architects who brought us The Empire State Building, and should be preserved.

It would make an ideal location for all the many small galleries in the LES who will probably come flocking back once the rents there repeat the explosive pattern that destroyed the East Village n the mid-1980s. Cozy and very secure prebuilt gallery spaces line the soaring mezzanine concourses, producing an open atrium feel, inviting to lines of art lovers during visiting hours… plus three meals a day, a shower on Wednesday and an hour in the enclosed roof-top exercise yard each day. That’s a deal you can’t refuse.