Case Study: NYPD – Harbor George

Harbor George is an existing waterfront facility that now serves as the emergency backup site for the NYPD Emergency Services Harbor Command Unit (Harbor Charlie). The unit has over 150 officers patrolling 576 miles of waterfront surrounding New York and an elite team of 31 scuba divers.

The officers of the Harbor Command Unit are tasked with search and rescue missions, assisting in boating related accidents, monitoring for terrorist activity, and protecting the many ferries that transport passengers through the New York waterways on a daily basis.


Following the partial destruction of Harbor Charlie during Super storm Sandy, the NYPD identified a need for an emergency backup unit at Harbor George, in case of a future loss of Harbor Charlie Command.

The goal was to create a sturdy and fully functional back-up facility utilizing the existing Harbor George command structure, while upgrading the centers aesthetic and technology.

CLS managed the design and construction of the facility, including:

  • Excavating below the lower level, to the bottom of the grade beams to create a usable lower level, now used as a gymnasium for the officers
  • Constructing an additional floor atop the existing structure, joining them with a single stairway.
  • Designing and installing a custom structural support system, including a reinforced concrete spandrel beam above the existing roof level to support the additional floor level and a 36” thick concrete mat to support the new enclosed stair tower which now connects all three levels.
  • Designing perforated metal cladding panels to enhance the building’s exterior.
  • Installing severe weather and flooding protection; including a heavy waterproofing membrane, structural pressure slab, waterproof seals and sealants on lower level, watertight pressure plates on all exterior doors, sump pumps, and a backup generator on a platform above the flood plain.


  • Throughout demolition and construction, Harbor George had to remain operational.
  • The new Harbor George facility must be able to remain fully functional, even in high flooding and severe weather conditions.
  • The existing structure, comprised of bar joists bearing on 4” thick masonry perimeter walls, was incapable of supporting another level.

Solution: Creative But Simple Structural Solutions

  • The Harbor Unit and CLS operated from a shared trailer keeping the unit operational during construction.
  • CLS developed a full foundational support plan/design ensuring a third level could be added to the structure while eliminating the need to drive piles in the low bearing soil.
  • CLS developed a protection plan involving multiple systems and engineering techniques ensuring the facility remains fully operational during severe weather.

Result: A Critical Need Satisfied

Through our precise planning and engineering, Harbor George is now able to function at full capacity and provide the NYPD Harbor Unit with a backup Command Center during a critical emergency.