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City Moves to Buy Controversial High Line Ambulance Depot

By Mathew Katz | August 17, 2012 8:17am

CHELSEA — A critical ambulance station that drew the ire of its luxe neighbors will likely become permanent, city records show.

The FDNY opened EMS Station 7 on West 23rd Street — a privately-owned former parking lot under the High Line — to serve the West Side after St. Vincent's Hospital closed in 2010. The city was leasing the lot on a month-to-month basis, but is now looking to buy it outright.

On Monday, officials plan to appeal to the City Council to ask for funds for "the site selection and acquisition of property located at 512 W. 23rd St... for use as an ambulance station."

The change could come as sour news to the legions of residents from surrounding chic condos, who in April protested a plan to make the 3656-square-foot ambulance hub permanent.

The fuming opponents claimed that idling engines filled their pricey apartments with fumes and noisy sirens kept them up at night.

But fire officials countered, saying that the station allows ambulances and crews to clean up and re-supply after each emergency without having to travel to Bellevue Hospital. The ambulances also need to idle to keep their specialized medical equipment going, fire officials said.

At the time, the city wanted a firmer grasp on the space — in the form of a longer lease — because the landlord could theoretically give the ambulance station the boot with only 30 days notice.

Fire and city officials were unable to immediately provide details on the deal, including the cost of buying the lot.