GVSHP Responds to St. Vincent's/Rudin Development Plan
Last week, GVSHP wrote to St. Vincent’s President and CEO Henry Amoroso in response to the 1.3 million sq. ft. redevelopment plan presented by the hospital and its development partners the Rudin Family for eight sites on both sides of 7th Avenue and along West 11th, 12th, and 13th Streets (see here). While GVSHP would like to see St. Vincent’s modernize its facilities for the 21st century, we had some very serious concerns about aspects of the plan, especially the size and height of the new hospital building (over 300 feet tall), the size and height of the planned new luxury apartment block (about 265 feet and around a half-million square feet), and the fact that the plan proposes demolition of all the existing St. Vincent’s Hospital buildings on both sides of 7th Avenue, including several which are as much as 85 years old (to see images of the current St. Vincent’s campus and the proposed new developments, go here). The St. Vincent’s/Rudin plan would be the largest new development in Greenwich Village in 50 years.
GVSHP has urged that the size and height of the two largest buildings in the plan be reduced. Additionally, GVSHP is calling for the hospital to preserve and reuse its older and more contextual buildings, as we believe landmarks law requires, rather than to demolish them wholesale. The entire St. Vincent’s campus is within the Greenwich Village Historic District, within which buildings are only supposed to be demolished if they are without historic significance, completely out-of-character with the district, or so new as not to warrant landmarks protection. While some of St. Vincent’s buildings clearly do fit this bill (such as the Coleman, Link, and Cronin buildings), others clearly do not, and could be preserved and reused. Were the Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve demolition of ALL of these buildings, it would substantially lower the bar for allowing demolition within historic districts — a prospect with some extremely negative potential consequences.
St. Vincent’s has said they do not expect to file their plans with the Landmarks Preservation Commission until December at the earliest. They will then need to participate in several public hearings on their plan, and get the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the City Planning Commission, and the City Council in order for their plan to proceed. That process is expected to take about two years. Now is therefore a critical opportunity to ensure that concerns about the current proposal are heard and (hopefully) addressed BEFORE the plan is officially filed with the City, and the public approval process begins.
How To Help:
Write to St. Vincent’s Hospital now urging them to make changes to the proposed plan before they formally file their application with the City — visit here for sample letters you can use. Please also send copies of letters to area elected officials (see link for contact info).
Come to the next meeting of the St. Vincent’s Community Working Group on Wednesday, Nov. 14th at 6:30 pm in the Cronin Cafeteria of St. Vincent’s Hospital, 170 West 12th Street — the development plan will be discussed and the public has an opportunity to ask questions and give comments. Local elected officials and the Community Board, who will weigh in on the plan, will represented.