City Seeks Hotel for Former Psych Hospital

The city’s Economic Development Corporation is seeking bidders to turn the Bellevue Psychiatric Building on the East Side into a hotel. Developers could potentially add on to the 400,000-square-foot, nine-story building at 492 First Avenue, which was built in 1931. (Also see our previous coverage on this.)

Release below.



Redevelopment to Feature Hotel and Conference Center

New York City, March 31, 2008 – New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in cooperation with NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for redevelopment of the former Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital building at 492 First Avenue between East 29th and East 30th streets in Manhattan. NYCEDC and HHC are looking for proposals to redevelop the nearly 400,000-square-foot building as a hotel and conference center to serve the surrounding medical and life sciences communities. Other uses compatible with the needs of the scientific, hospital and medical communities will also be considered. The City anticipates that it will retain ownership of the land, but expects to offer the selected developer a long-term ground lease of 49 years with two renewal options of 25 years each.

“Commercial bioscience is one of New York City’s major growth industries,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “With its strategic location within the First Avenue medical corridor, the Psych Building offers a developer an excellent opportunity to capitalize on and support the City’s extraordinary academic, medical research and healthcare assets.”

“The development of the Psych Building will provide a source of long-term revenue to support the mission of Bellevue Hospital,” said HHC President Alan Aviles.

The nine-story building is situated on an 82,000-square-foot parcel adjacent to the first phase of the East River Science Park, a life-science and technology research and development campus currently under construction and scheduled to open in late 2009. The red brick, limestone and granite building was built in 1931 and designed by Charles B. Meyers in Italian Renaissance-style similar to neighboring buildings on the Bellevue Hospital campus, many of which were designed by McKim, Mead and White.

The building’s architecture and layout, in the shape of an “H,” make it ideal for redevelopment as a hotel and conference center. In addition, it may be possible to add square footage to the existing structure, subject to government approvals. Proposals must maintain the building’s architectural integrity with façade restoration and complementary new design where appropriate. Developers are required to achieve a minimum rating of LEED Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

The site has excellent access to public transportation via bus and the Lexington Avenue Subway at 28th Street and 33rd Street on Park Avenue South. The FDR Drive is easily accessible via ramps at East 23rd and East 34th streets, as is the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the East 34th Street Heliport.

Since 1998, the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has operated the Psych Building as a shelter for homeless men and an intake center for its shelter system. DHS is currently in the process of closing the shelter operation and relocating the intake center to another DHS facility. The building should be vacant by mid-2009. NYCEDC expects to select a developer for the site by fall 2008.

New York City has 25 medical research institutions, more than 70 hospitals, 40,000 physicians, 128 Nobel Laureates and more than $1.3 billion annually in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Manhattan’s First Avenue medical and life sciences corridor runs from 14th Street to 72nd Street and is home to Bellevue Medical Center, Beth Israel Hospital, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, NYU Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and Rockefeller University.

There will be an informational session and site visit on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in the Farber Auditorium of Bellevue Hospital. Please RSVP by calling 212-312-3840 or e-mailing by Friday, April 18. Directions and specific information will be provided upon RSVP. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to attend. Copies of the RFP can be downloaded at Responses are due no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, June 13, 2008.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $5.4 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers, and more than 80 community-based clinics. For more information about HHC, visit


City Seeks Hotel for Former Psych Hospital