The New York City Mayor’s Office canceled the scheduled public groundbreaking of the already-in-construction 40th Precinct Station and instead held a press conference addressing the recent spike in crime in the Bronx and how the new building might help create a more secure and equitable borough.
“While crime is at a record low in New York City, there is still more work to do to ensure that every New Yorker feels safe in their neighborhood,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “This new precinct will strengthen the bond between community and police, which will ultimately help make the South Bronx and our City safer.”
According to newly released crime statistics from the New York Police Department (NYPD), murders have nearly doubled in the borough in the first half of 2018. Already 51 people have been killed compared to 26 reported homicides in the first half of 2017. Eight of the recent homicides occurred in the 40th Precinct, whereas two happened in the district in 2017. Officials hope the new facility, which will serve the South Bronx neighborhoods of Mott Haven, Port Morris, and Melrose, will encourage local residents and the police to work together to bring down such crime in the community.
The new Bjarke Ingels Group-designed station will sit at the corner of St. Ann’s Avenue at 547 East 148th Street, just two blocks from one of the most heavily foot-trafficked sites in the city. It will replace the precinct’s current home, a Renaissance Revival structure built in 1922, and move the squad closer to the center of activity in the South Bronx. During this morning’s press hearing, City Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr. noted that the location of the new facility will enhance police presence and oversight near The Hub, the aforementioned busy intersection stocked with retail, restaurants, and mass transit.
“I’m thrilled that the new 40th Precinct will be housed in my district,” he said, “and that it will be a much-needed resource near The Hub, which is ground zero for the opioid crisis happening in our city.”
The 42,000-square-foot station will feature three levels of space dedicated to officer training, physical fitness, storage, maintenance of gear and vehicles, and the first-ever community events space built in an NYPD facility. This addition to the structure is expected to enhance transparency and communication between the police and the local residents.
“Our message to New York going forward is that this is your station house,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “We were working in a century-old building that was designed for century-old policing methods. Now we’re changing that with a modern facility made for modern, neighborhood policing. Everyone should take pride in not only the jobs they do but where they do them.”
Initial plans to design the new building began 10 years ago when the city first tapped Alexander Gorlin Architects to envision the station. After BIG took over the project through the New York Department of Design and Construction’s Design Excellence Program, plans to build were finally filed in 2017 to the buildings department. Partial approval was given as of May 1 this year and construction began a few weeks ago, according to the DDC. The $68 million station is expected to be complete in spring 2021.