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Migrant center on Randall's Island to close, up to 600 asylum seekers heading to Watson Hotel in Midtown

Recently opened migrant center on Randall's Island to close
Recently opened migrant center on Randall's Island to close 01:37

NEW YORK -- The city is shutting down the migrant center on Randall's Island.

As CBS2's Dick Brennan reported Thursday, the decision comes as the wave of asylum seekers coming to the area has slowed considerably.

The migrant center opened on Oct. 19. The plan was that it would hold up to 1,000 migrants, giving them services before they could be moved out.

But in a statement Mayor Eric Adams said, "The speed at which the number of single adult males seeking asylum in New York City has slowed in recent weeks."

In part because the Biden administration put limits on how many Venezuelan nationals, who made up a large portion of the migrants here, could seek asylum.

READ MOREHomeless men at Randall's Island shelter say city is treating migrants "better than us"

The Randall's Island location has faced criticism the start from people who said it was in the middle of nowhere, and subject to the winter weather, along with and possible flooding.

It was actually the alternative location to one in Orchard Beach in the Bronx, which was shut down before it even opened.

So now the remaining migrants will go to the Watson Hotel in Midtown, which will open up next week and have a capacity of some 600 people.

The city says nearly 24,000 migrants have come to the city, and right now 17,500 are in city subsidized housing.

The city says it will continue to provide for the needs of migrants but adds that, "It's clear that we still need financial assistance from our state and federal partners."

Now, CBS2 has learned the cost to build the facility on Randall's Island was $325,000, and it was open a little more than three weeks.

However, the city says it's still evaluating costs, because the arrival of the migrants has been fluid.

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