The planned new medical facility of St. Vincent’s in the West Village was dealt a setback today, as the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission sent the hospital back to the drawing boards. At issue were concerns about the demolition of numerous structures in the historic district to make way for a block of townhouses and a condo tower built by Rudin family.
While the commission did not vote on the plan, according to commission spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon, commissioners said it required major revisions, with some suggesting the hospital rethink the proposal in full.
The hospital has been pushing for a plan that would allow it to build a new 320-foot tower along Seventh Avenue, with Rudin Management, led by Bill Rudin, paying some $310 million to demolish and redevelop the existing hospital site across the street.
But the area is in a historic district, and the proposal has received strong opposition and criticism from the community and elected officials.
All of the commissioners say they could not support the demolition of numerous buildings slated for the wrecking ball, according to Ms. de Bourbon, including the modernist 1963 O’Toole Building.
“I do feel that the other brick and stone buildings share a common history, as well as materials and details, and their wholesale demolition would eliminate all references to the hospital’s history on this site,” Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said, in a quote provided by Ms. de Bourbon.
Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, issued this statement:
St. Vincent’s and Rudin were essentially told to go back to the drawing boards and come up with a plan which is consistent with landmarks law and with the character of the surrounding Greenwich Village Historic District. This was a great decision for anyone who cares about preserving the character of our city’s neighborhoods.
St. Vincent’s issued this one:
While we are disappointed by the discussions of the Landmarks Preservation Commission as it pertains to the O’Toole site, we understand that the Commission’s scope is to examine the appropriateness of demolition within the historic district. Nevertheless, St. Vincent’s remains focused on building a 21st century medical center for the West Side of Manhattan, and will move forward with a hardship application, an avenue provided for in the Landmarks laws,” said Henry Amoroso, President and CEO of Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers. “The reality is that the O’Toole site is the only location where we can build a fully efficient, state-of-the-art green hospital to serve the people of New York. We are committed to continuing our more than 150-year mission of providing quality healthcare to an enormous number of New Yorkers, and we will return as soon as possible to the Landmarks Commission with a hardship application for the demolition of the O’Toole building.”