State seeks proposals for former state prison in Wayne County

Jun 11, 2018

New York State is putting out a Request for Proposals to developers who might like to buy a former state prison in the Finger Lakes.

If this was listed in the classifieds, it might read something like this: For sale: a state prison in Wayne County that closed about four years ago, spans nearly 200 acres in the towns of Wolcott and Butler, and includes housing units, gymnasiums, athletic fields and industrial style kitchens.

Credit Empire State Development

The Butler Correctional Facility closed in 2014 as part of a state initiative to consolidate underutilized prisons.  Now, the state’s economic development agency, Empire State Development, has put out the RFP to gauge interest in the property. Officials say they’ve already received some inquiries over the last year, so they want to test the market.

Holly Leicht is Executive Vice President of Real Estate Development and Planning for Empire State Development. She says the hope is that whoever eventually buys the property will come up with a project that could help the area’s economy.

“You want someone who will be a good steward for the property and take care of it, but you also really want someone who’s going to become part of the community and create jobs and uses that will help revitalize areas and bring new economic activity,” Leicht told WXXI News.

The property includes the former minimum security prison as well as a medium security prison  on another part of the site. Since a potential developer might not want the whole complex, the state is trying to be flexible in how it markets the property.

“(We) also gave an option for people to come in not for the entire site but for one of the sites or the other as opposed to the whole entire thing since it’s quite large, so we’re hoping there’s enough flexibility built into that, that we could see a range of potential uses,” Leicht said.

There’s no specific dollar figure on how much the state will want for the former prison. Leicht says the market will help determine that.  Responses to the request for proposals are due by August 9th

You can find the RFP on the Empire State Development website here.