Earlier this afternoon, a die-hard group of developers, activists and real estate enthusiasts gathered at the New York Department of City Planning for a much anticipated meeting. In a brief meeting, the controversial Rudin development project at the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital passed with unanimous support from all City Planning commissioners.
Commission Chair Amanda Burden explained that she was pleased with how the developers had worked with the community. “The Rudin West Village proposal represents an important step in incorporating the former St. Vincent’s campus into the fabric of the West Village,” Ms. Burden said.
Commissioner Angela Battaglia similarly voiced her support of the project, but encouraged Rudin to continue searching for a way to include an affordable housing program into the massive real estate endeavor.
After the meeting, Mr. Rudin spoke to a bevy of reporters, most of whom were curious about the affordable housing angle Commissioner Battaglia had mentioned. “I’m not exactly sure, there were a couple of different comments, and I think we need to see what their report was,” Mr. Rudin said. “Maybe after we’ve read it we can comment on it.”
Mr. Rudin explained that the development project will create “a revitalized neighborhood with jobs being created and stores being refilled.” In addition to condos and a park, the new space will include *an urgent care clinic with exactly two hospital beds.
As Mr. Rudin was speaking to the press, several opponents of the project gathered behind him, with signs reading “Shame! Shame!” and “City Planners to The West Side: Drop Dead.”
The vociferous activists argued that without a fully-operational hospital, complete with in-patient care and Level 4 trauma facilities, the West Side of Manhattan would be put in dire straits. “There’s a very large disparity of hospital beds and this isn’t being addressed by the plan,” said Dr. Gerrie Nussdorf. “There’s a change in health care where these freestanding clinics are somehow taken as being equal to hospitals.” The urgent care center, she said, is “kind of a band-aid: it can help certain things if they’re not so serious, but for serious things people need to be transported to a hospital.”
Another opponent, Timothy Lunceford, told The Observer that despite the planning commission’s statements, the Rudins have not worked with the community. “I’m telling you the commission did not tell the truth today,” he said. “Bill Rudin has not told the truth any time he’s presented to the board about working with the community.”
Mr. Rudin told the assembled reporters that *financing is completely in order for the project, and it will be completed sometime in 2015.