Maya Lin and her husband Daniel Wolf are buying a jail.
The world-renowned leaders in the art world plan to transform the shuttered Yonkers City Jail into studio, gallery, exhibition and loft space, city officials announced Friday morning.
Art and photography dealer Daniel Wolf intends to buy the 10,000-square-foot former jail, which closed earlier in September and was put on the market by the city for redevelopment.
Wolf said he plans to use it as a base for his collections. Wolf’s wife, award-winning architect and artist Maya Lin, who is known as the designer of the National Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, will join him in the design of studio space at the facility.
“This prime waterfront real estate in the heart of our vibrant downtown area was no place for a jail, but it’s an ideal location for an international art collection like that of Daniel Wolf,” Mayor Mike Spano said. “There is a growing community hub here which includes dynamic neighbors like Mindspark, ContraFect Biotech, Kawasaki, Y-Enterprise and now a base for art and design that further establishes downtown Yonkers as a regional capital for creativity and innovation.”
The site at 24-26 Alexander Street sits on .65 acres and near the YoHo artists studios in the former Alexander Smith Carpet Mills Building at 578 Nepperhan Ave., which got a new $500,000 wing earlier this year. Neighboring the jail property is the $35 milion public library and the renovated Metro-North train station.
The run-down jail was marketed at $2.5 million, but the price of sale will be $1 million, said Spano. The 87-year-old building is being sold “as is.” A closing is expected in December once the City Council votes to approve the sale.
“It is a unique site. We weren’t sure what it was worth and from the responses we got this was a good offer and an adaptive re-use to help Yonkers redevelopment,” Spano said.
Wolf, recognized as an art, furniture, and photography collector and dealer for 30 years, is currently headquartered in Manhattan.
In addition to designing the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, Lin designed numerous other buildings and memorials, including the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.
And Lin is familiar with Yonkers and its efforts to foster redevelopment.
She designed a new bakery adjacent to the waterfront on a 1.6-acre parcel for the Greystone Foundation in collaboration with the architectural firm of Cybul and Cybul. She worked on the redesign project of the Holladay Stone Chapel at Manhattanville College.
“Yonkers is a natural place to set down roots. The proximity to Manhattan and the opportunity to transform incredible sites like this beautiful building that the City has made available made the decision to move here a simple one,” said Wolf. “I am excited about this project and being part of the vibrancy of the Downtown Yonkers community.”
“The jail offers enormous potential but the breathtaking view of the Palisades from the door step of the Hudson inspires a vision as unique and beautiful as the building itself,” added Lin.
In addition to housing Wolf’s private collections, the site will also serve as a base from which to deal art and plan and promote exhibits for display at world renowned museums and galleries. Plans also include creating a multi-functional space on the first floor that can be used for art exhibits, dance performances, lectures, photography shoots, and other public events.
Wolf’s long range plans include building two additional floors to the existing two-story structure to create several artist’s studios and residences.
Mayor Spano added, “This transformative project sets an anchor for the art community here in Yonkers that adds to the culture of a Downtown neighborhood that’s bursting with opportunity to live and enjoy the beautiful Hudson waterfront.”
The property was marketed by Rand Commercial Services. It was not a protected landmark but is eligible for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a city planner said earlier.
(Photo above of Mayor Mike Spano left, alongside Maya Lin and Daniel Wolf. Submitted photo.)