Thompson Caves on House of Detention

House-of-Detention-010709.jpg
On his last day in office as New York City Controller, former (and future) mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson caved into pressure from the Bloomberg administration and agreed to stop blocking the expansion of the Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn. For months, Thompson had stood in the way of the renovation and/or expansion of the facility by refusing to OK a $34 million design contract, though many people speculate his resistance had more to do with a personal power struggle with Mayor Bloomberg than outrage over the price tag; the two design firms involved are 1100 Architect and Ricci Green Associates.. As recently as this fall, he was on record as saying, “This boondoggle has been a disaster since day one.” So what happened? According to a Daily News article this morning, he cut a deal with City Hall to drop a lawsuit against him in return for his complicity. But don’t expect a tear-down anytime soon. The $34 million is just for preliminary work: It’s the first real look at whether the site can sustain the type of facility we’re looking at for that location, said a spokesman for the Department of Corrections.
Thompson OKs Brooklyn Jail on Way Out Door [NY Daily News]
Battle Over Brooklyn Jail Withdrawn [Brooklyn Eagle]

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  • I went before the judge he sent me to the Brooklyn House of D.
    He said you behave son or we’ll throw away the key
    Harry Houdini’d out the cuffs I kicked the screw in the knee
    Took the bailiff’s wallet and went straight to O.T.B.
    I had a good feeling easy come easy go
    I bet on one horse to win and another to show
    And sure enough that knak came in
    Brought my ticket to the window and collected my win
    Broke into my new car with a wire coat hanger
    Hot wired hot wheeled and Suzy is a headbanger

    -Beastie Boys

  • That $34M figure can’t be right. There’s no possible way they could spend that much money on only design. That’s too high by a factor of at least 25. Maybe they’re earmarking that much money now to roll over into construction down the line. Does anybody who knows how these things work care to explain what could be going on?

  • That $34M figure can’t be right. There’s no possible way they could spend that much money on only design. That’s too high by a factor of at least 25. Maybe they’re earmarking that much money now to roll over into construction down the line. Does anybody who knows how these things work care to explain what could be going on?

    Posted by: wellheythere at January 7, 2010 9:41 AM

    It’s easy when it’s other people’s money. The contractor is probably a personal friend of Bloomie.

  • daveinbedstuy

    wellheythere…it’s simple. This is a government allocation of money so it’s stuffed with all sorts of fat, pork & earmarks. By definition it will not be efficiently spent.

  • I am all for the jail reopening but I am APPALLED at the collosal waste of money that is taking place. If you add this 34M contract to the 75+M improvements that took place earlier this decade the city has spent over ONE HUNDRED AND TEN MILLION DOLLARS on a jail that has essentially NOT HELD A SINGLE PRISONER….this is sick beyond all measure.

    As for Thompson caving whatever, the funny thing is the idiot announced that he is running for mayor again in 4 years….what a loser – he actually thinks he almost won (which btw 5pts isnt almost winning) because of something he did and not due to anti-incumbancy/anti-BB sentiment; what a putz

  • Bloomberg probably,in return for Bill’s cooperation, arranged for more monetary help for the Museum Thompsom’s wife is starting. See the article in this week’s Village Voice for more on this sickening example of dollars undermining democracy.

  • I’m all about cynicism regarding the city’s corruption and inefficiency, but there’s no way this can be put down to simple graft. Here, let’s run the numbers:

    165,000 square foot building
    10 per square foot overall design fees (a reasonable rule of thumb)
    Now multiply that by 2 because this is a public project which means land use review, hearings, advocacy, etc.
    Multiply that again by 2 so that the cronies and the backscratchers get their fair share

    So that takes us to $6,600,000 for massively bloated, incorrigibly corrupt design expenses. And the city is setting aside 5 times that for a preliminary design study! Either there’s some harmless budgetary tomfoolery going on, or this should be a major scandal.

  • Budget line C-114 (ACQUISITION, CONSTR., ETC. SUPPLEMENTARY HOUS. PROG. AND SUPPORT FACIL), in the FY09 Adopted Capital Commitment Plan, includes Project ID C114NEWF2 (CAPACITY REPLACEMENT PROGRAM- BKDC RECON. & REPLACEMENT)

    Construction is budgeted at $392.5 million, so at less than 10 percent, $34 million (actually $33.6) is in the right ballpark for city jobs. There is also $28.4 million for construction supervision, bringing the total amount budgeted to $454.5 million. Aw heck, let’s call it halfa billion.

  • …does anyone here still think that a bloated
    governmental bureaucracy (city, state or federal)
    is capable of delivering a service or product
    efficiently and effectively without massive
    fraud/abuse/corruption?

    and yet, the current administration continues to
    push for expansion of the federal tentacles into
    every aspect of our lives with the claim of being
    able to “do it better”.

    laughable.

  • benson

    Legion;

    Patience, patience.

    O-man is self-imploding as we speak. Any retirement announcements today?
    ;-)

  • denton

    so it’s $34 million to see if we can keep using a jail… as a jail?

    I’ll do it for $2 million. See you in the Bahamas.

  • g man, do you know if they are the expanding the facility to be larger than 165,000 square feet? Because if not, that’s 2,500 psf for hard costs alone! It would be cheaper to buy apartments at 15 CPW to house the inmates.

  • WHT, I don’t know. But a half-billion is what I remember (it has been a while) as the price tag for the retro-fit AND expansion. Also, the project description, “RECON. & REPLACEMENT,” implies more than just “RECON.” Finally, the budget item was probably created back when the Department of Correction was operating under the theory that expansion of the jail would not be subject to ULURP–that was shot down in court–so the budget line is probably for the whole she-bang.