<< Back

Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Application by the NYPD and DCAS to acquire a building at 241 West 26th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) for use as the new headquarters of the NYPD Bomb Squad

WHEREAS, The NYPD and DCAS ("Applicants") seek to acquire and site select a privately-owned property located at 241 West 26th Street, in order to relocate the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau’s Bomb Squad headquarters from its current location at 233 West 10th Street; and

WHEREAS, The primary responsibility and mission of the Bomb Squad is the investigation and mitigation of suspicious devices, articles or packages with the potential for explosive capabilities, as well as explosive hazard sweeps and standby response services for high profile public events; and

WHEREAS, The property in question is a six-story, vehicle parking garage with retail use presently on the ground and second floors, which will be converted into a new headquarters for the Bomb Squad with no structural additions or enlargements to the existing building, and will not result in any change to the existing building’s footprint or envelope; and

WHEREAS, The Bomb Squad disposes explosive material in the Bronx and not at the proposed facility; and

WHEREAS, The proposed headquarters will include storage space, administrative space, locker rooms, and parking for six (6) emergency response vehicles stocked with specialized technical equipment; and

WHEREAS, The need for these vehicles to be parked and stored in a climate-controlled environment is a primary reason for the selection of this site; and

WHEREAS, The other primary reason for the selection of this site is to allow for reasonable response times to lower Manhattan and midtown Manhattan, the areas of highest concern for security and counter-terrorism measures; and

WHEREAS, The application requires no zoning changes or text amendments, but as a capital acquisition, is required to go through the ULURP process, ensuring public review; and

WHEREAS, The total number of officers in the Bomb Squad is 39, with no more than eight personnel at a time occupying the headquarters for normal shifts; and

WHEREAS, The 10th Precinct will have procedural jurisdiction over the Bomb Squad, and

WHEREAS, Though there is an acute concern about the impact of officers’ parking vehicles along the block, Applicants state that the number of dedicated parking spaces on the street as part of the application is zero, as the 15 spaces inside the facility would accommodate all six of the squad’s trucks, as well as the vehicles for the eight personnel expected to be on-site during a given shift; and

WHEREAS, Furthermore, Applicants state that the cessation of the commercial parking garage operation presently at the site will further result in the removal of a considerable amount of vehicular traffic from the block, a net decrease in impact; and

WHEREAS, Applicants have been in communication with DOT about the forthcoming installation of a crosstown bike lane on 26th Street, and there is no present concern about any conflict between it and the proposed facility, especially as there will be a net reduction, as stated above, of 200 vehicles coming and going from the parking garage now in operation; and

WHEREAS, In response to considerable community concern about the use of sirens on the block, Applicants reiterated their commitment as a matter of policy never to utilize sirens until off of the block and onto an adjacent avenue, and are in discussions to look into ways to trigger red lights at adjacent intersections in times of an emergency response, to ensure a clear path for emergency vehicles in order to quickly facilitate their passage from the block to an adjacent avenue; and

WHEREAS, Despite Applicants’ coordinating with DOT thus far, there remains concern from the public about the considerable congestion already on this block, and a keen interest in obtaining more information from DOT in the form of a traffic study examining the specific concerns of congestion at peak times on 26th Street; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five agrees with the importance of a more informative traffic study, not only to more accurately address concerns about congestion on the block in terms of quality of life, but also in terms of the efficacy of the operations of the Bomb Squad itself in times of emergency response; and

WHEREAS, Throughout its history on 10th Street, there has only been one complaint lodged against the Bomb Squad’s operation, which was a noise complaint about HVAC equipment on the exterior of the building that was then remediated successfully; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant will install an HVAC unit with proper acoustic protection; and

WHEREAS, Anticipating continued interest in the details of the proposed operation, as well as concern about how its introduction to the neighborhood is carried out, Applicants are committing to returning to Community Board Five at any time for a debrief on the state of the operation, allowing for members of the public to air any concerns moving forward; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application by the New York City Police Department and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to acquire a building at 241 West 26th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), for use as the new headquarters of the NYPD Bomb Squad, unless Applicants secure a commitment from DOT to explore and institute an effective means to ensure clear passage of emergency vehicles along 26th Street; and Applicants ensure the issuance of a traffic study examining the detailed impact of their operation on 26th Street, to ensure that solid data is used to preserve the quality of life along the block, as well as to ensure the efficacy of emergency response teams in times of traffic congestion along the block.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter