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Police Precinct Nabs Adaptive Reuse Strategy

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Best Renovation/Restoration

Photo by Esto Peter Mauss
Photo by Esto Peter Mauss
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Leaking roofs in the former stable complex that served as the police station in 2002 for Manhattan's Central Park forced the precinct to relocate to a temporary structure next door until the complex was repaired.

The $49-million renovation project did not kick off until 2010 and endured several months of delays, according to media reports. The end result, however, is a precinct with a much larger and more fortified home whose original 1871 structure, from architect Jacob Wrey Mould, has also been handsomely refurbished. In all, 20,763 sq ft of usable space grew to 23,016 sq ft.

"At the heart of this project is an adaptive reuse strategy that preserves the remaining historic elements of the building and repurposes them with the addition of new construction into a new state-of-the-art facility," says M-E Engineers, the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer on the job and project submitter.

The U-shaped building is located on the 86th Street Transverse Road and highly visible to passing cars. Major changes to this building included the addition of a rounded roof and tall glass walls to its courtyard. The courtyard is the central organizing feature of the structure and is where the precinct's front desk is located.

Other features include bulletproof glass that was added to the historic peaked windows in the High Victorian Gothic structure and locker rooms that were fashioned from attic space. Throughout the structure, details such as original hayloft hooks were conserved.

The ventilation system, however, had to rely on short duct runs to cope with cramped quarters and sloping roofs.

"The task was similar to designing a wristwatch with very defined space," M-E Engineers says.

Many of the delays came about in trying to run electrical lines from Fifth Avenue to the site, which sits in the middle of the park. In test digs, workers discovered existing water and gas mains, which meant that electrical lines had to be moved to the other side of the transverse road.

Central Park Police Precinct, New York

Key Players

Owner/Developer: New York City Dept. of Design and Construction (NYCDDC)

Sponsor Agency: New York Police Dept.

Construction Manager: URS Corp.

General Contractor: C&L Contracting Corp.

Civil Engineer: Leonard J. Strandberg and Associates

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